England striker Darren Bent has apologized to Aston Villa fans after a picture appeared online showing him buying Christmas presents while his team was losing to Liverpool in one of Sunday's Premier League matches.

Bent, who signed a record contract with Villa, missed the match because of injury. Fans were angered by his apparent lack of interest in the team's performance.

Bent apologized on Twitter, saying he watched ''the majority'' of the game on TV. He wrote: ''Never knew popping out would cause an issue and for that I apologise.''

Bent is Villa's leading scorer with five goals.