Fulham suffered yet another defeat at the hands of Everton this weekend, and it is just another piece of evidence that Felix Magath's side will not be a part of the Premier League next year. That's bad news for Fulham fans, but it could be good for other teams who would like to make a swoop for their players. Such a beleagured side would probably want to send their best lineup on the pitch every weekend, but they went to battle against Everton without Darren Bent. (Note: the fact that Bent is one of their best players is either praise for Bent or condemnation for Fulham. I am genuinely unsure which, though.)
After the match, when he was asked why the erstwhile England international did not feature in the day's action, Magath said that Bent had taken a knock in training and wasn't fit to play. Perhaps Magath should have simply demurred, because the striker insists that he was ready to go and could have helped his club.
Bent says that he took the aforementioned knock on Thursday, but had trained fully on Saturday. He then went on to say:
"I was fine to play. I am disappointed not to feature, especially in games like the Everton match where you feel that you can definitely affect the game, when your team needs a goal. Over the years I have managed to produce quite a few of those."
You can sense a player who is struggling to get any time as the season comes to an end. He won't feature against Aston Villa, thanks to the rules of loans, and there aren't many chances after that. Bent, of course, will return to Villa when the season is over and will likely be a non-factor at the club again. He surely wants to prove himself and secure a move elsewhere to get some regular time.
It's a story that I began writing thinking it was funny and now just makes me sad. Bent has always seemed to be a pretty good guy and it's a shame to see him waste away on the bench of a bad club. Then again, maybe Magath is right to keep him there. After all, it's hard to do this from the bench.
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