Darren Bent: no more than we expected

darren bent

The FA, in traditionally clueless fashion, mucked up the announcement of Fabio Capello’s final squad, allowing names of players supposedly omitted or included to be leaked all over the shop while, for whatever reason, dithering over an official statement. At 3pm BST, they finally got round to saying there’d be an announcement in an hour. Why couldn’t they have made this clear earlier, or explained why they couldn’t make it clear? Are they really as hard of thinking as they seem determined to appear? And so it was in the end confirmed, and to no great surprise among Sunderland fans, that Capello had found no room for Darren Bent in the 23-strong squad heading for South Africa. Darren – the great image is from Addick-TedKevin‘s Flickr pages – has learnt a sharp lesson from the Book of Certainties: to be both a Sunderland player, and chosen for England, is one of football’s tallest orders …

When Kevin Keegan picked Kevin Phillips, then the best striker in the Premier League and not even playing in a top six team, to go to Holland and Belgium for Euro 2000, some of us looked forward to seeing how our star would fare at international level.

He was never given the chance.

England proceeded to flatter to deceive, leading Portugal 2-0 in the first game before losing 3-2 and then beating Germany 1-0 before crashing out with another 3-2 defeat, by Romania. SuperKev was not even sent on as a sub in any of the three games.

Darren Bent would be forgiven for feeling it is better not to go to South Africa at all than to suffer Phillips’s unwarranted fate. He was given only a token chance to impress in the build-up to today’s final selection by Fabio Capello, and was unable to work the miracles that would have been needed to change the manager’s mind.

Salut! Sunderland congratulates Darren on a magnificent first season in our colours, salutes the way he forced Capello to recognise his claims for inclusion in the provisional squad – and sympathises with him over this ultimate rejection.

Geoff Hurst, who knows a thing or two about scoring goals for England, summed it up rather well for BBC 5 Live:

Emile Heskey hasn’t played all year and hasn’t scored goals, whereas Darren Bent has played all season and scored 25 goals – so if you’re picking on form, it’d have to be Bent. I don’t think that’ll happen, but it’s my opinion.

But even Geoff didn’t get it quite as spot-on as Sobs – Paul Dobson – in this magisterial pronouncement after an earlier posting here:

“If I knew nothing of the situation, and watched the Japan game as a neutral, I wouldn’t take Bent either. But looking at the team performance, especially the second half, I don’t think I’d take any of the outfield players on show. They didn’t play one ball to Bent’s strengths in the first 45, then when he wasn’t there in the second, they tried to. Performances like that in the Prem are what get managers sacked. Was there any point in playng Heskey? Another typical, tumbling performance which told Capello nothing he didn’t already know, but he’ll still take the world’s least prolific target-man.”

This morning, Salut! Sunderland also prepared a congratulatory posting in case Fabio ignored the Londoncentric sports writers and chosen Darren after all.

He didn’t, so the piece is redundant. Our man joined Leighton Baines, Michael Dawson, Tom Huddlestone, Scott Parker, Adam Johnson and Theo Walcott in missing out.

But enjoy your summer all the same, Darren, thanks for saving our season from potential disaster and please give us more of the same in the Premier next season.

* Long before the FA emerged from crass ignorance of basic public relations and finally announced the squad, Darren Bent had Tweeted: “Am gutted. But thank you for all your support this season.”

The full squad is:

Goalkeepers: Joe Hart, David James, Robert Green.
Defenders: Jamie Carragher, Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Glen Johnson, Ledley King, John Terry, Matthew Upson, Stephen Warnock
Midfielders: Gareth Barry, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Aaron Lennon, James Milner, Shaun Wright-Phillips.
Forwards: Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe, Emile Heskey, Wayne Rooney

Colin Randall

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19 thoughts on “Darren Bent: no more than we expected”

  1. Well said Bill. He hasn’t got any experience simply because the consistency of his goal scoring wherever he’s been has been ignored. This perverse logic suggests that it’s Darren’s fault that he hasn’t been picked.

    You start to wonder whether 30 goals in a season or maybe 35 would have made a difference. I very much doubt it.

    What is all this nonsense about not fitting the team’s way of playing. Where are goals scored? Down by the corner flag or just inside your own half. The team’s responsibility is to get the ball in the box for the strikers. Can’t they do that?

    Let’s see just how many Emile “the Goal Machine” gets. I can’t help it lads. I’m laughing already. 🙂

  2. Whose fault is it that Bent has little international experience? Not his. And so what that he doesn’t fit into the way England play? Maybe they should change that — they don’t exactly have a stellar record, do they? Maybe a lone striker, a proven high-scorer whose skills aren’t overshadowed by his ego, is just what they need.

  3. It’s all very reasonable Essex, but the argument isn’t about Defoe or Crouch. I don’t have an issue with either of these players and neither do most of the other contributors. The issue is with taking a player who is past the mediocrity of his prime and has managed 5 goals in 45 and spent most of the season warming the wood with his fat arse.

    It’s diabolical and you know it. Defending the indefensible is………….simply indefensible.

  4. The thing with Bent is that he doesn’t fit into the way England play – he plays as a lone striker & he has little international experience. Rooney does, Crouch has a great record for England & Defoe can be a better impact sub than Bent. Heskey won’t score but will hold the ball up better for the others.

    He had a good season, 25 goals in the premiership is great but never in a million years are England going to play him as a lone striker.

    If Rooney gets injured then you’ve got a proven domestic pairing of Crouch & Defoe…

    Get behind your country guys..

  5. @Jackie Jay

    I have not marked your comment down, but a quick question.

    In your view SAFC are a mediocre team. How many other mediocre teams managed to take points from the supposed titans of the premier league?

    I know you are just looking for a bite, but you can not deny that the majority of fans are still waking up scratching their heads at the decision to omit Darren Bent.

    There are no other out and out goalscorers in the team and if Rooney picks up an injury who are they going to look to? Emile Heskey?

    Big fail on the England trios part (The FA, Capello and the Media)

    We need a manger with the balls similar to Alf Ramsey back in charge, we could have had that with Cloughie, but he was not a yes man. Capello is.

  6. If Sunderland are a mediocre team, Bent would have been quite at home in the England side, a team with mediocrity (and arrogance) stamped right through it. Funny how he scored goals against the supposed “better” sides.
    Viva Paraguay!!!

  7. Odd how a mediocre team can have a striker with 25 premiership goals to his credit? Having scored all of them against other more mediocre teams presumably. The fault lies firmly at 25 Soho Square, ……….yet another mediocre team.
    Cast your blinkered mind back Jackie Jay to another goal scoring machine called Brian Clough, now how many caps did he get? Jeff Stoddart

  8. Benty found his comfort level at Sunderland. Lets face it, a mediocre team That played the way he wanted. Neither Spurs or England could afford to change their style, to accommodate a player that proved he couldn’t handle pressure.

  9. Vane Tempest. You are not the first one by any manner of means to suggest that there was something in this.

  10. Does anyone else think that Wayne Rooney made the decision to take Heskey rather than Bent?
    Rooney seemed determined not to pass to Bent on Sunday.

  11. so much for picking players on form as per the managers comments before the friendlys. Bent was never given any passes into the channels which is his strength and was always in the worst team. they should have given him the second half ,that team would have played to his strengths.How on earth can he take heskey who is off form and could,nt even get in his club side.

  12. So sorry for Benty.
    Taken on the season’s form he should obviously go.

    All I can think of is that Defoe is more familiar playing with the squad and has more experience in big games and might cope better.
    With Heskey you get an awkward handful for defenders and someone who can hold it up, but you’re right on this: if Rooney gets injured, we’re goosed.
    I personally would have taken Bent over Defoe.

  13. I also had a post waiting in the wings. We were all hopeful of Bentys inclusion. Instead i posted the one that is not too complimentary.

    The England team has been nicely developed by the London media circus and the FA listens. The FA tells the current popular choice of England manager who to pick and they listen.

    Good luck Paraguay

  14. I’m also disappointed to see Adam Johnson left out. He could have been the real surprise package in the WC. He doesn’t play for us obviously but being a Sunderland fan has clearly gone against him. I didn’t realise that Tom Huddlestone was a Mackem though!

  15. Well we all knew the token picking of Darren Bent for the Japan game was a sop towards public opinion, but if anyone had any doubts about who picks the England team look no farther than the power of certain England players. They call the team the three lions, it actually should read three lions, and one without any teeth. Jeff Stoddart

  16. Has Capello just made the first blunder of Englands World Cup campaign, God help the team if Rooney gets injured because there is not another out and right goal scorer in the squad.

    Bent was not given a chance to show what he can do, the Japan game was an embarrassment for all involved saving the Goal keepers.

    So much for picking players on ‘form’.

  17. Capello has picked a squad that would terrify Honduras or Tristan Da Cunha. Heskey wouldn’t be dangerous with Semtex.

  18. How does these people survive in the face of their self-perpetuating folly?
    Still, this gives me another reason to cheer for someone — anyone — other than England.

  19. Decisions, decisions, decisions. And I don’t mean whether to choose Bent or Heskey. It’s whether to watch the World Cup – starts 11 June on ITV1 or Americas Got Talent – starts 10 June on ITV2. Mr Capello, you just made my mind up. Hope there’s some good dog acts on!

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