Striker Darren Bent has pledged his commitment to Aston Villa and revealed a determination to get behind the new manager when he is appointed.

The 28-year-old, who missed the last three months of the season after rupturing ankle ligaments, was linked with a move away in January.

"People have asked if I was mis-sold the dream when I signed and if I'm honest I didn't think Ashley Young and Stewart Downing would leave in the same summer," he told the Birmingham Mail. "But I signed for Aston Villa because I wanted to be here and I still do."

Villa struggled in the absence of Bent, who scored 11 goals, and a 16th-place finish just two points above the drop zone cost manager Alex McLeish his job after just one season in charge.

Bent, whose injury cost him a chance of making England's Euro 2012 squad, had to watch from the sidelines as the club had their worst campaign in six years and returned their lowest points total (38) in 42 years.

He added: "I was linked with a transfer out of here all through January and I didn't want that then and I don't want that now. It's not been a great season but this is a massive club and we've got to make sure it is a blip that doesn't happen again. It is still a time of transition and we need to do our best to get behind the new manager."

McLeish faced a wall of opposition from fans having been appointed from city rivals Birmingham last summer, and when the club was dragged into a relegation battle the criticism worsened.

Bent felt the Scot would get longer to make his mark at Villa Park but owner Randy Lerner had other ideas.

"Whenever a manager leaves you are always a bit surprised and I thought he would get another year if I'm honest," he added. "Considering the players we lost it was always going to be a tough season but nobody expected it to be quite this tough.

"We probably lost half our team from last season, Brad Friedel, Kyle Walker, Luke Young, Nigel Reo-Coker, Stewart Downing and Ashley Young, so that was always going to have an effect."

Source: PA