Targetman Bent is still aiming high
Sunderland striker hopes to earn place in Capello's squad for World Cup finals
Thursday 25 February 2010
The Sunderland striker Darren Bent is refusing to give up on his World Cup dream. The 26-year-old has scored 16 goals since his summer move from Tottenham to put himself in contention to board the England plane for South Africa.
However, with the England manager, Fabio Capello, due to announce his squad at the weekend for the friendly with Egypt 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 £10m switch to Sunderland, he is simply concentrating on his job on Wearside and allowing the rest to take care of itself. Bent said: "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."
In the meantime, Bent's focus ison Sunday's game with Fulham and Sunderland's efforts to end their 13-game run without a league win. "Sunderland comes first," he said," I would put the club before anything. Getting them out of trouble and us having a good season is before anything."
One player whose chances are being talked up is the Birmingham goalkeeper Joe Hart, widely expected to be part of Capello's squad for the Egypt game and go on to start his first full international. As the man who spotted Hart when he was a teenager at Shrewsbury and signed him for Manchester City for £1.5m, Stuart Pearce knows the keeper better than most.
"When we first saw Joe we felt he had a lot of the attributes required to become a top goalkeeper," said Pearce, who managed Hart at England Under-21 level and is an important member of Capello's current back-room team. "He is 6ft 4in and his distribution, with both hands and feet, is fantastic. More than that, he has a relaxed, laid-back temperament."
elephant appealThe first 23 lots have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
comedy'Fresh Meat' star sees off stiff competition from Alan Carr, David Mitchell, Graham Norton, Lee Mack and Sarah Millican to win top prize
Beatles rush out 'bootleg' album to defy EU copyright law
healthJames Bond's alcohol consumption puts him at 'high risk' of cirrhosis, tremors... and impotence
musicPolice chief rejects rappers' claims that his work is as dangerous as law enforcement or military service
tvSpoiler alert: Find out the result of a heated final show
Harvey Weinstein reveals his secret weapon on-set
Now that an oil trader's drinking has got him sacked, will we all have to make do with an afternoon latte?
Chiwetel Ejiofor and Idris Elba get nods for Best Actor, which no black Brit has ever won
Geoffrey Macnab reviews The Desolation of Smaug - the meat in Peter Jackson's Hobbit sandwich
peopleWhat advice would David Cameron give to his younger self?
Latest in Sport
World Cup 2014: Football Manager developers predict the team of the tournament - but which England player makes it into the XI?
Mikel Arteta queries scheduling of Arsenal's crucial showdown with Manchester City
Transfer news: Manchester United step up chase for Internazionale midfielder Fredy Guarin - reports
Ashes 2013/14 third Test: Is Waca on the way out?
Champions League last 16 draw 2013: Who could Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United meet?
- 1 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 Australia incest case: Severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- 4 Physicists discover 'clearest evidence yet' that the Universe is a hologram
- 5 Fox News presenter tells viewers it is a 'fact' that both Jesus and Santa Claus are white