Bent remains hopeful of England call

Sunderland striker Darren Bent is refusing to give up on his World Cup finals dream.

The 26-year-old frontman has plundered 16 goals to date for the Black Cats to fire himself to the fringes of the race to board the England plane for South Africa.

However, with Fabio Capello due to announce his squad for the friendly clash with Egypt at the weekend as Bent goes head to head with surprise contender Bobby Zamora at club level, time is running out for him to prove to the Italian that he has a role to play.

But, as he has done ever since his form for Sunderland put the £10million man in the international frame, he is simply concentrating on his job on Wearside and allowing the rest to take care of itself.

Bent told the Journal: "It would be nice to be involved. I don't think I have done my chances any harm this season.

"There are only Wayne Rooney and maybe Jermain (Defoe) who have scored more goals than I have as an out-and-out front man.

"All I can do is keep working hard, keeping doing well for Sunderland - there's no more that I can do.

"If it doesn't happen, I will move on."

Bent's desperation to be involved is all the more acute because he believes England have a genuine chance of returning with the trophy after being drawn in Group C along with the United States, Algeria and Slovenia.

He said: "England have got a great chance of winning the World Cup. If we can play as a team and maintain the form that we are in, there's no reason we can't win the World Cup.

"It was a good draw for England. It's there for us, but it will be tough.

"There is a long way to go before then - anything could happen.

"We have always had some of the best players in the world but it's just been a case of them playing as a team and getting everything together.

"You can never really talk about anyone being favourites because there is danger all over. Brazil are strong, Spain are a good team and you can never, ever write off the Germans.

"Before ever major tournament, they get battered in the lead up to it but, as soon as the finals come around, are always in the semi-finals or final."

In the meantime, Bent's focus will be on Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash with Fulham and the Black Cats' efforts to end their 13-game run without a league victory.

He said: "Sunderland comes first - I would put the club before anything.

"Getting them out of trouble and us having a good season is before anything."

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