'He nearly ruined my club' - Bent on former Ipswich boss Lambert
- Credit: PA
It’s fair to say former Ipswich Town striker Darren Bent isn’t a fan of Paul Lambert.
Bent played under the former Ipswich boss at Aston Villa and was stripped of the captain’s armband by the Scot and dropped to the bench, soon after the manager’s arrival in 2012.
Speaking as part of an interview with FourFourTwo magazine, Bent questioned his former boss’s management skills both at Villa and at Portman Road, where he lost his job in March following two poor seasons in League One.
“I don’t know what the issue was there – we didn’t get on, but why, I don’t quite know,” said Bent, reflecting on the pair’s time together at Villa.
“I think he wasn’t a very good man-manager, he couldn’t deal with lads who had egos and big reputations, and we just didn’t see eye-to-eye on anything. It wasn’t a good time at all.
“The worst part was that he had already told Ron Vlaar, his new captain, a week before. It showed what kind of a man he was.
“We didn’t get on and I don’t particularly like him now – he was at Ipswich and nearly ruined my club.
“I’m sure if we spotted each other in the street, I would carry on walking past him.”
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Reflecting on his time with Ipswich, where he scored 55 goals in 141 games after coming through the club’s academy, Bent said: “I loved it. Ipswich was perfect for me and I had the perfect manager because George Burley’s motto was, ‘If you’re good enough, you’re old enough’.
“I began training with the first team at 16 and made my debut at 17, against Helsingborg in the UEFA Cup – the only annoying thing is that I had an unbelievable chance to score and didn’t take it.
“They were some of the best times. We played Inter and I travelled with the first team to San Siro, watching Ronaldo come back, and Christian Vieri.
“And scoring my first goal was an unbelievable feeling, even though we were 4-0 down at St James’ Park.
“Everything just felt right for me at Ipswich. I still look at that club with very fond memories – Charlton, as well, as I made a permanent step up to the Premier League, scored goals and made my England debut there.”
Bent hung up his boots in 2018, following a loan spell at Burton from Derby, and is now a regular voice in the media, working predominantly for talkSPORT alongside former Town team-mate Darren Ambrose.
And the former striker, now 37, is enjoying his second career – even if it means criticising players.
“For me, the transition wasn’t too bad, because I’d been doing a lot of media stuff already,” he said.
“The difficulty when you retire is that you’ve got to figure out some things to do, but I went straight into the media. I thank my lucky stars that I was able to retire and move into another career, as a lot of people don’t get that luxury.
Pundits are there to give their opinions – there are going to be some that rate you and some that don’t.
“No one likes getting criticised, whatever they might tell you. When somebody says you’re not playing well, you hate it, but that’s all part and parcel of it and now I’m on that side.
“I’m having to do it. I don’t particularly like criticising, but if I want a career in this then I’ve got to do it.”