Sunderland’s welcome signing of Cristian Riveros, on a free transfer from the Mexican club Cruz Azul, may have deepened our fondness for Paraguay. We like to think, having voted already for Paulo da Silva and their red and white stripes, that we’re their official British site for the World Cup (though we’re not).
But let’s hear it tonight for Darren Bent, included in Fabio Capello’s provisional squad for South Africa.
At Salut! Sunderland, we’ve been batting for Bent for long enough, mocking those who say he has no game beyond scoring goals – as if scoring goals wasn’t actually a striker’s raison d’etre. How many strikers could turn out in a team as bad as we’ve been, with service as bad as he’s had, for long stretches of the season and still score 24 goals?
No one knows for sure how he’d fare at international level because he has not yet been given a proper chance.
We hope he now impresses sufficiently in the time that remains before Capello decides on his final squad, a decision that will mean seven of today’s selection missing out on the trip.
Darren’s goals kept us out of trouble this season. He fully deserved today’s happiness and pride.
“I’m really happy and it’s a weight off my shoulders,” he told the official SAFC club site. “I’ve worked hard all season towards something I really believe in so it’s brilliant to have finally got the OK.
“This tops off a fantastic season but the hard work starts here. It’s all about trying to get into that final 23 now … I’ve had the most enjoyable season of my career so far – now I want to finish it by getting my head down and working hard. Going to the World Cup would mean everything to me, especially after missing out in 2006.”
Great stuff, Mr Bent. Bon courage for the next bit.