Bent impressed by Lambert

Paul Lambert's approach has impressed striker Darren Bent. Photo: PA

Darren Bent is relishing being part of the "licence to thrill" philosophy brought to Aston Villa by new manager Paul Lambert for the forthcoming season.

England striker Bent was forced to miss the final third of the 2011-12 campaign - and the Euro 2012 finals - with ankle ligament damage suffered at Wigan.

But before that he gave the impression of being a frustrated figure when being used as the lone central striker in a 4-5-1 formation despite still managing 10 goals.

Now Lambert is putting the accent on attack as Villa look to improve on avoiding relegation from the Barclays Premier League by only two points.

Bent said: "It was great when the gaffer came in a couple of months ago and said he wanted us to play with a real freedom.

"He wants us to be really dangerous and create loads of chances. He wants us to be an attacking outfit.

"He has a philosophy where he says: 'If we're going to lose, we're going to lose having a go'. He wants us to have a right good go at every single team. That's how it should be.

"We have attacking players in the team who can cause real damage and he's told them to go out and do their stuff. It's certainly going to be a dream for me playing that way as a striker."

Bent admitted: "Last season was difficult. We were playing 4-5-1 at times and you can become isolated as a striker.

"But, in this formation, that's impossible because it's so attack-minded.

"The gaffer never, ever has a go at any player who's in the attacking third, has a go and then gives it away.

"You have Charles (N'Zogbia) and Stevie (Ireland) and he's telling them to just go out and do their stuff. He tells the strikers to get in the box and score goals. It's exciting times.

"He has told me what he expects as the norm from me and what he wants me to do.

"The boys in the dressing room have all bought into his ideas and tactics."

Bent, who reached the 100 Premier League goals mark last season, knows that Villa need to show a massive improvement in the next campaign, particularly in front of their own fans.

Only four league victories were chalked up at Villa Park in what was the worst home record in the club's history in terms of lack of wins.

Bent said: "It's been a good pre-season and everyone can't wait for the season to get going. There's real optimism about the season ahead.

"Last season our home form let us down and we need to improve on that this season.

"We want fans to wake up and think: 'Yes, it's matchday and we are off to Villa Park'. We want to make it a fortress.

"I know last season was difficult for the fans. At times we weren't playing the best but I am sure this season will be better."

Lambert has no doubt about the importance of a fully fit and firing Bent to Villa's campaign.

He said: "Darren is a goalscorer. Every team needs them. You can't just rely on one guy to score you the goals.

"But his influence at the football club is huge as a result of what he has done in his football career up to now.

"He had a fabulous goalscoring record at Sunderland and if you look at it, his goalscoring career here is phenomenal.

"For England too, he is a threat. He would have gone to the Euros no problem if he'd been fit. It will be a big plus for us to have him fit."