Defoe could challenge Bent for England spot, says Jordan
Darren Bent returns to White Hart Lane tonight as England's first-choice No 9, his place at next summer's European Championship seemingly secure, but the Aston Villa striker has been warned he may yet be dislodged from Fabio Capello's squad by the man whose form cost him his Spurs career: Jermain Defoe.
The claim, from Spurs' first-team coach Joe Jordan, seems far-fetched given the divergence in the two players' fortunes. Defoe has not played for England since March, and was omitted from Capello's squad entirely for this month's two friendlies.
By contrast Bent, sold by Harry Redknapp to Sunderland in the summer of 2009 because Defoe's goals rendered him surplus to requirements, seems to have won the Italian's trust, featuring in both of those wins as the England manager seeks alternatives to Wayne Rooney.
That both strikers have scored six times this season seems almost coincidental: Defoe has become an impact substitute or a Europa League reservist, finding himself below Emmanuel Adebayor in Redknapp's plans, while Bent is Alex McLeish's front-line forward. Such is Defoe's talent in front of goal, though, that Jordan believes it may be him who leads England's line next summer.
"Between now and then you have to prove you are a good player, so I wouldn't say that [Bent will go]," said Jordan. "Jermain can do that. He is waiting for his opportunity. There will be competition ... you have got to make a run. There will be very few players selected for their country in this tournament if their form is not good between now and then. If you drop off, you might have been the person scoring the winning goal in qualifying, but if someone else emerges, you could be left behind."
But the 27-year-old Bent's £10m move to the Stadium of Light, and his subsequent switch for £24m to Aston Villa, were testament to his determination to prove his ability to handle pressure, to take a central role, even if it meant doing so away from the Premier League's elite.
"Darren has always been a player that scored goals, but here he was competing for a place with two or three strikers who were equally as good," said Jordan. "He went to Sunderland, handled being a No 1 choice, and it elevated him back into a position for the national team. The consistency and continuity of getting games was important for him. Maybe he does need to be the main man."
Latest in Sport
Sheffield United vs Tottenham match report: Christian Eriksen breaks hearts after Che Adams had brought Blades back from the brink
Gabriel Paulista: Talented Brazilian could grow into world-class defender at Arsenal
Tottenham player ratings: Christian Eriksen? Harry Kane? Who was the star man at Bramall Lane?
Andy Murray vs Tomas Berydch: Murray cool over reunion with coach Dani Vallverdu at the Australian Open
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: Pair meet at NBA game and exchange numbers, will the fight be announced during Super Bowl?
- 3 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 4 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Isis publicly behead man in Syrian town square for 'insulting Allah' as he screams for help
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures