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."

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea