Is that it for Darren Bent?


So if some reports from the England camp are to be believed, Darren Bent may be one missed game away from being left behind when England head for South Africa.

I have read both that he had a pulled hamstring and that he was simply suffering some stiffness and was, as a precaution, kept out out of the reckoning for any role, even as benchwarmer, in last night’s 3-1 win over Mexico.

If Darren cannot – or does not – play in Sunday’s match against Japan in Austria, he will then have virtually no chance of making the reduced final squad.

That would be a great shame for a man to whom a seat on the plane would mean so much. Salut! Sunderland would be thrilled for Darren if he not only showed his fitness in the coming days but came on at some stage vs Japan and did what Defoe could not do as a sub last night – score goals to make Capello reconsider any negative thoughts.

We have come to expect setbacks for Sunderland players linked with England. Many Salut! Sunderland readers will have seen last night’s game. Was there anything that might encourage our man?

Match reports I have seen don’t help. The annoying Crouch made one and scored one – the latter probably offside and probably involving a handball, said the Telegraph – and Defoe’s “clever pass” triggered the Rooney-Gerrard link-up that nearly brought another goal.

Darren is not out of it yet, but his chances are fading.

In an article on the Liverpool Echo website – the headline “Enlgand warm up for World Cup with Liverpool FC’s Steven Gerrard inpsiring win over Mexico” offering compelling proof that newspapers need sub-editors – Dominic King says Rooney, Defoe and Heskey must be in the final party.

“That leaves a straight fight between Darren Bent and Peter Crouch but, in reality, there is nothing for Capello to consider. Crouch, simply, has to be on the plane as whenever he plays for England, he makes things happen.”

Such reports ignore the fact that Bent has never really had the chance to “make things happen” for England, or Enlgand as the Liverpool Echo would have it. But we have to face the likelihood that something exceptional would need to occur on Sunday for him to go to South Africa after all.

Even, in an article arguing Bent in/Heskey out, says it is unlikely to happen:

(Heskey) has not started enough games for Aston Villa this season, so how on earth has he made the England provisional squad? Darren Bent will likely be sent home by the Italian, but many will want (like me) Heskey to pack his bags and watch the world cup from the luxury of his own armchair…he certainly deserves to. If he gets on the plane to South Africa in June then lord help us.

This prompted a Spurs fan, “The Yid”, to make the frankly ludicrous point that Bent’s success at Charlton and Sunderland, but failure at Tottenham, shows he “can’t make it at a bigger club”. Surely it is the level at which a player scores goals that counts, and to score so many in what was for much of the season an indifferent team makes the achievement more, not less, striking.

Let Darren Bent take heart from the fact that he was at least called up for the final stage of selection, which represents impressive recognition in itself. He should also take enormous pride is his magnificent goal-scoring exploits of last season.

And let us hope he can give us more of the same next season, even if it means first having to get over acute disappointment.

Colin Randall

* Photo from the Professional Footballers’ Association’s Official Facebook Fan Page for Darren Bent

9 thoughts on “Is that it for Darren Bent?”

  1. I’d argue that, recently, Pavlyuchenko is the better big man than Crouch too – but looks like he’s being forced to the door now.

    I’ve said for a while that it’s odd England’s two “big men” aren’t even their clubs first choices. However, I’d take Crouch based on his England goalscoring record alone.

  2. love the Spurs comment that Bent can’t do it for a bigger club – remind me who scored 17 times for them last season – more than any other player. The fact that Heskey isn’t even first choice at Villa (Carew might be a lumbering hulk, but he socres goals on occasion) should tell Capello that he’s had his time in an England shirt

  3. Heskey needs game time and didn’t play last night, surely he needs to prove himself. According to all accounts Bent would have played but had a slight strain he looked happy and relaxed, so it doesn’t sound like he has no chance, he will play against the Japs and he will hopefully impress. I thought Ledley King was rubbish last night always getting caught why do the London players get bolstered up all the time?

  4. Dosn’t matter how well he plays, the London based reptiles don’t like him and that will always influence any England manager. He’s a better player than Defoe or Crouchbut Capello doesn’t seem convinced.
    Mind, he picked Ledley King last night and he was awful – but not as bad as Leighton Baines who looked more and more like a poor mans George Mc Cartney.
    Viva Paraguay!!!!

  5. This might work in his favour, instead of being shoved up front and being told to perform while Walcott provides no final ball, and players like Huddlestone and Milner get to grips with playing in front of Wembley – he might get a chance to play up front with players like Lampard and Cole behind him as they didn’t play against Mexico.

    They’ll possibly create him some better chances and he might be able to get on the scoresheet. He’ll play, as it’s only fair, and as long as he gets more than the last thirty minutes he should have a chance to show the world what he can do, having showed us 24 times this season already.

  6. Word is that Darren Bent will definietly play against Japan at some stage on Sunday all things being equal, probably from the start. Psychologically he will know he will possibly need to produce a Roy of the Rovers type display which will create unfair pressure on the player, but his goalscoring record in the top flight over the last five seasons should have already made him an automatic selection.

  7. It’s the perfect excuse for Capello to not include him. He’s resisted and resisted giving the lad a chance all season. Now, unfortunately he doesn’t have to, otherwise Darren would have embarrassed him into putting him on the plane. Never mind, we can look forward to seeing the goal machine Heskey in action instead. You can’t play for England if you play for Sunderland. A golden boot hasn’t made any difference before, and the Evening Standard still seems to pick the squad, even though it’s a freebie now. Ledley King is in the squad though, a bloke who hasn’t trained since Steve Perryman retired. I could resort to profanity but will resist. Salut is a family show.

  8. I, too, think Bent’s chances have gone up in smoke. Proving yourself with limited time and in a makeshift team is never easy, as found out by several players last night against Mexico. It’s going to be down to a lack of international pedigree that he will no get picked for the final 23, and why Defoe will get the nod over him.

    Looks like Sunderland’s interests will be focusing on Ghana and Paraguay this year.

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