BBC BLOGS - Phil McNulty
« Previous | Main | Next »

Bent relishes centre stage with England

Post categories:

Phil McNulty | 23:00 UK time, Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Darren Bent was marking the anniversary of one of the darkest days of his career as he mapped out his journey from England's nearly man to the marksman Fabio Capello has learned to trust.

It was a exactly year ago that Bent searched in vain to see his name among those who would do battle for England at the World Cup in South Africa. Bent's frustrating 45-minute appearance in the final warm-up friendly against Japan in Graz had convinced Capello that Emile Heskey and Peter Crouch represented the better bet.

Bent, prolific for his club after scoring 24 goals at Sunderland, seemed destined to linger forever on England's margins, unable to make the final leap into international football.

Fast forward 12 months and Bent talks and plays with the confidence of a striker who has fully justified Aston Villa's record £24m outlay in January and scored in three successive England games to win the faith of Capello for Saturday's Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland at Wembley.

Bent is now comfortable inside England's environment and a far cry from the struggling figure who battled to make an impact from his debut against Uruguay at Anfield in March 2006 until he scored his first goal for his country in the 3-1 win in Switzerland in September.

As he sat in the opulent surroundings of England's Hertfordshire headquarters on Wednesday, Bent said: "The goal in Switzerland lifted a weight off my shoulders. As a striker you're always judged on goals and playing well for your country.

"People questioned whether I could score goals for England and it did lift the massive weight off my shoulders and enabled me to grow in confidence. I didn't celebrate much because I was worried it might be disallowed for offside or something, but I was jumping for joy inside."

Bent's follow-up has been to produce better performances and even more assured finishes in the friendly victory in Denmark and the Euro 2012 qualifier win against Wales in Cardiff's Millennium Stadium in March.

He has drawn praise for his improvement from the notoriously hard-to-please England coach Capello and banished the memories of Harry Redknapp's infamous "my missus could have scored that" jibe after an expensive miss for Tottenham against Portsmouth in January 2009.

Bent admits Redknapp's insult, no matter how light-hearted, may have had an impact on the public's perception of his talent, even though his one full season at White Hart Lane still brought 17 goals from limited opportunities.

He said: "I've scored a lot of goals since he said that. Harry's a well-liked guy and a lot of people listen to what he's got to say but I just got on with it. It was hard at the time but when I left for Sunderland I showed people I was a good finisher and could score goals.

"When I first left Spurs it was in my mind to show people what I could do but after I scored a lot of goals in my first season I put that to bed."

Bent was one of the shock big-money movers in January when he made his switch to Villa Park - but he has flourished with nine goals in 16 appearances, including the winner on his debut against Manchester City.

And Capello demonstrated his increasing trust in Bent when he made him the focal point of an attacking triumverate involving Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young for the win in Cardiff.

I asked Bent if he feels he has finally won Capello over with his performances. He said: "He has always been the same with me. I don't know what Fabio is thinking but if he is picking me I must be doing something right so I want to continue that."

Capello's willingness to give Bent a starting role has strengthened the self-belief that he can succeed for England. "I feel more confident than I have done before in my career," he added. "I have never been in so many squads consecutively or go on the pitch so often.

"I feel like I'm playing really well and going in the right direction. Fabio does feel I'm becoming a better player so I must be doing something right."

The only cloud on Bent's current bright horizon is speculation surrounding his Villa colleagues Young and Stewart Downing - who used their England platform this week to cast heavy doubts on their futures at the club.

Bent, to Villa's relief, has no intentions of following suit but expressed his concern when I questioned him about the possibility that two attackers he relished the prospect of playing alongside when he moved from Sunderland - and who provide so much of his supply line - may leave.

He admitted: "You have to worry. They are top, top players and you have to worry when they are being linked with other clubs. I went to Aston Villa to play with these kind of players and hopefully the club can hold on to them. If the manager, even if it is a new manager, comes in and says he wants to hold on to them that would be brilliant for Aston Villa."

And what about the prospect of a manager - namely Redknapp - who once compared Bent unfavourably to his wife when it came to goalscoring prowess succeeding Capello as England coach?

Redknapp is favourite to step up after Euro 2012 and Bent joined in the laughter at the irony before insisting: "All I can do is keep playing as well as I can for my club.

"If Harry gets the job then good luck to him, but if I keep playing well for my club side and he doesn't pick me then obviously something's going on. At the same time I'm sure he'll do a good job and we'll have to see."

And for now Bent is simply satisfied with the approval of Capello, who acknowledges that the striker is now a vital member of England's bid to reach Poland and Ukraine.

You can follow me at and join me on Facebook.


  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    Agreed with #1. I thought these blogs were supposed to discuss thought-provoking subjects and new material, not stuff every football fan in England already knows. Bent is a decent player and as good at taking chances as most strikers out there, which at the moment puts him above 99% of the competition.

  • Comment number 3.

    Bent is one of England's most natural goal scorers, and has been criminally overlooked for a long time. Capello has finally noticed what most football fans knew for a long time and, hopefully, this is the start of a long and successful England career for the Villa hitman.
    Stuart Downing, also mentioned in the blog, has a history of 'bottling it' whenever he puts on an England shirt, and is arguably less deserving of a role in Fabio's squad. Ashley Young, however, has the potential to become a big hit if he continues to develop in the manner has has over the last couple of seasons (regardless of where he plays his football next season).
    The prospect of Rooney and Bent as England's first choice pairing is a welcome one, especially with the likes of Ashley Young and Adam Johnson providing ammunition from the flanks. Add Jack Wilshire to the mix and you have the makings of a good side.
    I am determined not to get carried away though, as we have been through the whole 'golden generation' disappointment before, but the current side are capable of winning trophies if they are managed properly (and can actually play as a team, unlike the last lot).

  • Comment number 4.

    A very Bent blog Phil

  • Comment number 5.

    Phil I'm usually a big fan of your blogs, but even I admit this is a little dry. I can understand that you are trying to get away from writing about the top clubs (Man Utd and Barca in particular, although I think you were perfectly justified to put the spot light on them seeing as they are the best two teams in europe and were contesting the champs league final) but we all pretty much already knew what was writen here. I would be interested to hear your thoughts on who you think the top 7 or 8 clubs need to sign so that they can push for Europe/challenging for the title.

  • Comment number 6.

    Sorry but the best goals per game ratio striker is still Peter Crouch and I'd still have him as first choice before Bent alongside Rooney

  • Comment number 7.

    RE-OPEN 606!!

  • Comment number 8.

    Phil... a blog on transfers please!

  • Comment number 9.

    Darren Bent hasn't changed at all in the last 12 months. He's exactly the same player. The reason why Capello is actually picking him is because he visits Villa Park far more than he ever visits the Stadium of Light (i.e. never), and Sunderland were notoriously bad away from home so Bent never got the service on the few occasions he was watching! Capello say's he picks players on merit, but its hard to do that when he can't be bothered to go any further north than Manchester or Liverpool to watch a game!

    Fair enough to Darren though that he's finally gotten his chance!

  • Comment number 10.

    I agree with #9. Bent hasn't improved - he's still just a very good league player.

    Also I don't know why Phil thinks he's justified 24m fee? Fair fee would be c. 15m.
    Interesting ho many black cats would buy him back for 24m or would keep cash.

    Only reason Phil perceives Capello sees improvement is England don't have a real international class 2nd forward. One can debate if marginally Bent is better than Crouch or Defoe, or vice versa.

    Real point is Capello has no class 2nd forward to pick - so has to give Bent a go - certainly I don't think he "trusts" him to will Euro champs for him.
    For example '90 = Lineker and Beardsley. '96 = Shearer and Sheringham.
    '12 = Rooney and ??? No comparison with current 2nd stricker options.
    Bent is current choice only because no real alternative.... not because he is improved.

  • Comment number 11.

    How can some of you even question Bent's 'ratio' Are we going by club or internationals?

    I'm pretty sure he was the top English scorer this season, in the Premier League. Scoring 9 goals in 16 games since joining the Villa from Sunderland. That's a pretty impressive ratio if you ask me. Certainly better than Peter Crouch's club ratio record. Ironically, Bent's last 2 England goals have been since he joined Aston Villa. Coincidence? Perhaps. Defoe has scored 4 goals all year. So you really think Bent, is just a little bit better than Defoe after scoring 14 goals more than him this year, and Crouch, who has scored how many, 6? Put their tally together and it doesn't even reach the amount of goals Bent scored last season....

    Darren, is finally getting his chance and deserves it in my opinion, his finishing is better than any English striker we have (yes even better than Rooney)

  • Comment number 12.

    Capello watches Villa a lot and the move has obviously helped Bent as suggested in #9. I would also agree that Bent hasn't improved over the past 12 months, just been given a better opportunity to stake his claim. I believe both Young and Downing should think carefully before leaving Villa if they want to stay in the England reckoning. Barry and Milner have not progressed for England since joined City even if their wallets are now bulging! (Not a dig at City who are progressing well)

  • Comment number 13.

    Bent has to be worth the transfer fee - ask Randy Learner who is probably a better business man than most of us can ever hope to be.

    Bent's goals kept Villa in the top division and his departure precipitated a terrible run of form for Sunderland which saw them perilously close to the trap door that leads to the championship.

    9 goals in 16 league games is an excellent return for Villa. 17 league goals in 36 matches is an excellent return for the season especially since he was playing for mid to lower table sides.

    The only people who scored more league goals play for the 'bigger' clubs who create more chances (Tevez, Berbatov, RVP).

    Bent has to prove himself more than some of the other strikers Mr Capello chooses which I think is a tad unfair in Bent who has been a consistent goalscorer for several seasons now.

  • Comment number 14.

    @ #9 "...I don't know why Phil thinks he's justified 24m fee?"

    His goals kept Villa in the Prem League gravy train perhaps??

  • Comment number 15.

    I think that now he has fully realised his potential and has the mentality now to really cement a place in the england team. He has always had the ability both as an athlete and as a goalscorer and has added aspects to his game which make him one of the most wanted forwards in english football, i would be happy if wenger was to go and sign him because his goals are invaluable. At the age of 27 he is now in his prime and his heading towards his peak. His physique and athleticism allows him to play as either a lone striker or part of a two up front. He can come deep and hold the ball up or spin in behind with his pace and his heading ability has also improved. But his movement inside the box and off the defenders when making runs is second to none and he is a terrific finisher. That is why i would love to see him at arsenal as his movement would really stretch defenders and in the box he is a predator and would get near 30 goals with the amount of chances we create, so i wouldn't be too bothered if wenger was to go and spend £20m on him because that could be the difference next season between us winning the league.

  • Comment number 16.

    Bent's had a good run, unlike his England rivals, so of course he should be considered above Crouch, Defoe etc. He might not be world class, but he's the best we've got at the moment. Regarding the transfer window price tag paid: don't forget that another English club paid more than double that for a player who scored a meagre one Premier League goal. Whether Bent is on Barcelona's list of summer transfer targets is unlikely though!

  • Comment number 17.

    A good blog about Bent, but the truth is that it has all come a bit too late in the day for him as he nears the age of 30 where the inevitable decrease in productivity will occur.

    His big chance should have been after a wonderful debut season for Charlton in 05/06. He had shown enough in that 9 months or so to suggest he should have been taken to the world cup or at least be given a proper chance in Euro 2008 qualification.

    He is not a fantastically talented individual, but he is a very good and reliable goalscorer. He is very good in the air, with great spring and scores consistently with right foot or left foot chances.

  • Comment number 18.

    Wow Phil where would we be without your amazing in depth analysis.

    How come there is no mention of the fact that Bent said in interview the Capello told him to leave Sunderland for Villa in order to get games for England?

    Darren Bent claimed to be loving it at Sunderland but despite scoring 24 goals last season he was overlooked at the World Cup. Then after 3 training sessions and one match for Villa Capello describes him as a more complete player.

    Last time I checked the England manager was supposed to pick players on talent, not who they play for. Capello made remarks about the way that Sunderland played in the first half of the season (they would actually have been right about the second half) claiming that we were almost a long ball team when that couldn't have been further from the truth as we were knocking it around on the ground with some skill.

    Darren Bent went for the money and you would think that for 6 million a year Capello could head further north than Birmingham at least once a season. Still good luck at the Euros where no doubt we will be knocked out in the last 16 having played some appalling football, thank god the FA saw fit to tie Capello down to a huge new contract before the ever so successful World Cup

  • Comment number 19.

    Rooney has showed this year that he performs well with a poacher in front of him, allowing him to create and scheme. Rooney is not a natural goalscorer, or taker of chances - his goals (09/10 aside) have usually been quality ahead of quantity. Playing with a Bent or Hernandez takes the goalscoring burden off his shoulders and he does appear to play with more freedom when this happens.

    His best England performances came alongside a fit, scoring and poaching Michael Owen, throughout 2004 & 2005 this was the case.

    Hopefully the Bent Rooney combination will be the one that works.

  • Comment number 20.

    #10 - he is alss guaranteed hi splace as for some reason Capello hates Michael Owen and won't give him an opportunity regardless of whether he plays or not.

  • Comment number 21.

    I agree with #9 in one sense, he is the same now as 12 month ago.

    However I felt he was a decent England squad striker and nothing more then and still do now. Jermaine Defoe is a better goalscorer (though not getting the games to prove it right now), Crouch is a bigger (not just physically) prescence and more clinical striker and Andy Carroll looks to be close to overtaking Bent as well.

    Bent's problem at international level is his strength at club level, he is a good all round striker, good at most things, excellent at very little, that works over 40 games in the league for a mid-table side but will not be enough at the very top table of European/International football. At that level you need to excel in at least one area if not more.

  • Comment number 22.

    I must firstly point out that I am a Sunderland fan and perhaps my bias takes over here but I believe that Darren Bent and this England fiasco is a farce.

    Bent is the kind of guy who needs love and to be the number one man. It's been shown at Tottenham where he was frozen out and at Sunderland where he was second to Gyan. For England, as much as Capello is sucking up to him now, he will never be the no.1 man and his response to that will to perform poorly and to not put in the effort. Again, proved at Sunderland.

    Second of all I must moan about the way Capello somehow suggested that Aston Villa made Bent a better choice for England. I was suprised nobody moaned about this at the time to be honest. After all, Sunderland where comfortably in the top 6 of the league and proving they could compete with the best, hammering Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Yet, somehow according to Capello moving to Aston Villa a team in the bottom half will make you a better choice? It's not even that you can suggest Houllier would teach Bent new things!

    For me Bent is a guy who when he gets his way fires the goals but it's when he doesn't that he's worthless striker. Sunderland fans while agree and Tottenham fans will also. I say Defoe is the man for England, at least you can guarntee 100% all the time.

  • Comment number 23.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 24.

    It doesn't matter what Bent does, he won't be appreciated until he plays for one of the big 5. To compound matters, there are alot of people out there who made their mind up about him a long time ago and will not allow themselves to eat humble even now that he has shown again what he can do at another club.

    Part of the thinking begind this blog was to ruffle the feathers of the many doubters regarding Bent and stimulate discussion accordingly. I can see why this upsets many who don't like to have to admit to themselves that they may be wrong about Bent.

  • Comment number 25.

    When will people realise that football is a team game? Bent and Young together are better than two individuals. A manager looks for combinations. Torres was great with Liverpool because he had Gerrard to play with, neither are as good on their own. Look for combinations, not individuals. Even Rooney does better if he has a partner.

  • Comment number 26.

    At 09:50 2nd Jun 2011, Boilerbill wrote:
    "Even Rooney does better if he has a partner".

    Agree - Rooney plays better with a variety of partners, the sign of a real pro.

  • Comment number 27.

    Bent has scored more goals than any other English forward over the past seasons since his Charlton days. He has been consistently over looked by poor underperforming England managers who have not achieved any success which should tell us a lot. Harry Redkapp with all his likeable factor by the press deep down knows he made a very big error of judgement when he made those commenst about Bent and sold him off. Bent was the top scorer @spurs that same season despite coming from the bench for 90% of the games, and since leaving spurs he has scored more goals than the entire Spurs forward line put together...Fact. Now how does HR justify the comments he made against Bent? Would spurs fans not think that they would hve made it for a second year in a row in the CL if they had Bent in their team?
    Cappello has swallowed some of his pride after failure in the WC and has finallyrealised that Bent is the best English striker over the likes of Defoe, Crouch, Hesky, and Rooney (who needs a frontman to flourish). What the fans need to do now is support Bent and Cappello with other new introductions into the team. Its not going to be an easy ride as there are great European teams out there. No hype, just support and encouragement. Chances will come and Bent will lead the forward line to convert some of the chances into goals (albeit winining goals)

    PS As an Arsenal fan, i clamoured for AW to buy Bent this summer, but we were beaten to it by Villa. Hope AW gets his act right this summer, else he can save himself some humiliation buy the use of a pen & paper inside with an envelope to be passed on to the board, cos his record the lst 4 seasons suck!!!

  • Comment number 28.

    Bent is a natural striker better than Crouch and Defoe. Bent should have been in the 2010 world cup team. A notable omission. Owen is past his prime. Rooney-Bent combination will work well in the Euro.

  • Comment number 29.

    Perhaps Phil ought to write about how England continue to embarass themselves in the football world with the backlash from other FIFA member countries that stories of 'FIFA corruption' were only reported in the British media!

    Several members spoke of England's attempt to whip up a frenzy where there was none in apparent revenge for only getting two votes in the disastrous world cup bid.

    It would apprear that a subsequent attemt to discredit FIFA has backfired spectacular with more than 170 countries apparently voting for Blatter in apparent disgust of England's tactics

  • Comment number 30.

    Dont see what the issue with Bent is... natural goal scorer, top English scorer in the PL this year and consistently scores. Why did he not go to WC?????? ridiculous decision

  • Comment number 31.

    Perhaps Phil ought to write about how England continue to embarass themselves in the football world with the backlash from other FIFA member countries that stories of 'FIFA corruption' were only reported in the British media!

    Several members spoke of England's attempt to whip up a frenzy where there was none in apparent revenge for only getting two votes in the disastrous world cup bid.

    It would apprear that a subsequent attemt to discredit FIFA has backfired spectacular with more than 170 countries apparently voting for Blatter in apparent disgust of England's tactics

    186 out of 203 countries who vote for Blatter speak a truer story of where the rest of the world stands. Contrary to what the british media would have us believe, England stand alone.

  • Comment number 32.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 33.

    Dazz. This is about the England team and not the FIFA business from yesterday. You'll find a blog from the Sport Editor on that one on another page. Yes, the FA didn't cover themselves in glory. But then again FIFA still has problems and needs reform. But lets stick to the subject at hand. The England strike force.

  • Comment number 34.

    Bent is currently the main man. He's putting the ball in the net on a regular basis. We don't really need him to do anything else, but get on the end of chances. Rooney can do a lot more, but then again there's only one forward player like Rooney in the England ranks. So there's no point complaining that he can't do the extra stuff that Rooney does. Because nor can any other England striker

    With Young, Adam Johnson, Rooney and others we should be able to create the opportunities that Bent can finish.

  • Comment number 35.

    @34 - It's a good point! I think they key is not just looking to the future but actually implementing the future! how often do we see young stars coming in and doing well.... only to revert to type as soon as it matters? not exactly got us anywhere! AJ Milner, A Young, Bent (not because he's young but because he actually knows where the goal is) Rooney, Hart, Baines... all young and all need a proper chance not just 45 mins here and there! Not saying Lamps, and Gerrard, Terry etc are no good but they are not the future! We need to move on and re build! the future could be bright.....but will it?

  • Comment number 36.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 37.

    I've followed Bent since he was a beloved Tractor Boy. He has been the most consistent English goal scorer in the last few years but has been overlooked because of other perceived deficiencies in his game. Let Rooney do all the holding up, dropping deep and fancy flicks, I want my centre forward to score goals. Bent scores goals because he has pace and is always looking to run off the shoulder of the last defender and get on the end of crosses. Bent should have been the 1st name on the Engalnd team sheet for years, think of the goals he would have scored getting on the end of Beckham's crosses.

    Anyway.......lets make lots of money

    3.40 Hamilton Klynch

    R Carr in red hot form and useful claimer S Kelly takes a valuable 7 lbs off that will allow Klynch to complete the hat-trick today.

    Bring back 606

    Arsene's Optician

  • Comment number 38.

    I'm happy to see England play any strikers other than Crouch. Our game is so one dimensional with him in the team. Yes he has a good record..but scoring lots of goals against very weak opposition isn't impressive. Bent or Defoe would make afar better partner for Rooney.

  • Comment number 39.

    I like Darren Bent as a player, but people can't accurately say ''his goals have kept Villa in the Premier League''.

    Out of his 9 goals, 3 were scored in losses, 3 were scored in two drawn matches, and 3 were scored in two victories, therefore his goals, at best, earned Villa 8 points - yet Villa finished 9 points above the bottom three...

  • Comment number 40.

    I too have to admit an interest with Bent,as he started at my club.I have to agree with Mr C as well.He scores goals.That's it.Whoever he plays for.The season Charlton went down he still managed to get 20 odd goals that season.How he was left out of the WC squad after netting 20 odd times for Sunderland that season I'll never know.

  • Comment number 41.

    The attitude towards Bent is quite remarkable, both by a lot of football fans and successive England Managers. Let's look at some simple stats - the top premier league goal scorers over the last six seasons:

    1: Rooney - 91 goals
    2: Bent - 90 goals
    3: Drogba - 86 goals
    4: Lampard - 81 goals
    5: Ronaldo - 75 goals
    6: Tevez - 70 goals*
    7: Berbatov - 69 goals*
    8: Torres - 66 goals*
    9: Defoe - 63 goals

    (*not played in all six seasons)

    You then have to go a lot further before you get to Crouch with 45 goals.

    Somehow Defoe and Crouch have been routinely in WC and Euro squads for five years plus AND it was widely accepted that Engalnd would have taken Zamora to the WC last year if he had been fit.

    I just don't understand it.

  • Comment number 42.

    I'm pleased that Darren Bent is now getting his opportunity at international level and seems to be adapting relatively well. However, this all goes back to the World Cup and Capello banging on about players in form. If Bent wasn't in form when he was with us then I don't know when he will be.

    I'm not for 1 minute suggesting he would have won us the World Cup but wouldn't it have been nice to have a prolific scorer in our ranks? Perhaps to even just come off the bench instead of goal machine Heskey.

    Annoyed that he left Sunderland to go to a club struggling at the time (but managed to finish a point above us after our devastating injuries so what do I know?) and annoyed that Capello basically said he should move to improve his chances. This sort of management and manipulation should concern all fans.

  • Comment number 43.

    I think also that even though he has been overlooked and treated terribly... he still has the desire to play for England! show's not only his commitment to England but his desire to Score goals and keep going no matter what! Wish all so called England stars had the same desire as Bent. Get him in and keep him in

  • Comment number 44.

    Perhaps Phil ought to write about how England continue to embarass themselves in the football world with the backlash from other FIFA member countries that stories of 'FIFA corruption' were only reported in the British media!

    Several members spoke of England's attempt to whip up a frenzy where there was none in apparent revenge for only getting two votes in the disastrous world cup bid.

    It would apprear that a subsequent attemt to discredit FIFA has backfired spectacular with more than 170 countries apparently voting for Blatter in apparent disgust of England's tactics

    186 out of 203 countries who vote for Blatter speak a truer story of where the rest of the world stands. Contrary to what the british media would have us believe, England stand alone.

    There are also reports that most of the 17 countries who did not vote abstained in protest at Bin Hamman's treatment - not in support of any English sentiments

  • Comment number 45.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 46.

    Bring Back 606 BBC boys are getting bored.

  • Comment number 47.

    post number 4 so funny but a good observation

  • Comment number 48.

    Well someone said this was a dry topic so I thought - why not discuss something more interesting?

  • Comment number 49.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 50.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 51.

    Loving the fact that most people's comments describe Bent as 'just a good striker', nothing special, then go on to say he's good in the air, good with both feet and will get you 20+ goals a season (for mid-table teams), a natural goal-scorer!
    He should have been first on the shopping list for any of the big clubs in January (all of which have been looking for a goal-scorer) and Villa have done well to get him!

  • Comment number 52.

    #15 and #27, Bent is a gooner (see comments about playing alongside Pires when first joining Villa) so I'd love to see Arsenal in for him this summer. He's been at Villa for nearly a season now so he's due a move. Never stays more than a couple of seasons after coming through at Ipswich. Check his wiki.

  • Comment number 53.

    Whilst I agree that Bent is a good bet for England up front and has certainly paid back his 24m fee (how much is a place in the premisership worth today - 25m/30m a season?) it cannot be that he represents a dawn of a new era for England. One look at the Champions League final shows just how far we are behind other countries like Spain. In addition when you look at what´'s coming out of Germany (Ozil, Schweinsteiger, Hummels etc.) and how young they all are, we in England are miles away for developing these kinds of players. At the end of the day, it's the inevitable result of our own beloved 'premiership', it's great to have so many world-class players over in England, but where I live (in Germany) the standard's not bad either, even if the speed is slower. Also given the choice, I'd rather see England win the World Cup than Man Utd/Chelsea/Man City etc lift the Champions League.

  • Comment number 54.

    Dazz - stop the bitter anti England dull.

    Funny how Villa got laughed at for spending all that money on Bent, whereas as the media are so far up the backsides of Chelsea and City they didn't seem to notice Torres but more especially Dzecho doing nothing after their big money moves.

    Same with the £9 mill on Ashley Young

  • Comment number 55.

    As an Aston Villa fan i agree with this completely. Darren Bent pretty much single handedly saved our season and hopefully we can push on with him next year. He is England's best goalscorer and deserves his chance at international level...he has earned it. He combination with other Villa players Stewert Downing and Ashley Young could be interesting for England.

  • Comment number 56.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 57.

    @54 - Firstly spell Dzeko's name correctly and secondly he's scored a few goals and only had half a season! As for the Media being up City's Backside are you joking? we've been getting hammered all season by everyone in the media, Balotelli, Tevez, the Chairman, RM, Not being a team, being "mercenaries" just after a pay day....Funny how well we did for people just being there for the cash hey!

    ... I dont actually recall that many people saying the price was too high, was a good signing from the outset if you ask me, cracking player and always has been!

  • Comment number 58.

    @56 - Wont like seeing given go but he's far far to good to be a bench warmer!

  • Comment number 59.

    @56 Wont like seeing Given go, but he's far far too good to be a bench warmer!

  • Comment number 60.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 61.

    @60 agreed, dull and boring... all the MU fans must be on holiday, no one to argue with lol

  • Comment number 62.

    Where's wal_sol when you need him?

  • Comment number 63.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 64.

    HAHA where is Wal-Sol indeed... probably topping up his prescription lol

  • Comment number 65.

    At 14:52 2nd Jun 2011, Mr Chelsea wrote:

    @60 agreed, dull and boring... all the MU fans must be on holiday, no one to argue with lol

    They're all on the other blog whinging about FIFA lol.

    And still commenting on Paul Scholes blog as well Mr C.

  • Comment number 66.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 67.

    Whatever you do Mr C,don't disagree with them.

    They'll get terribly upset.

    Especially Football_UK if he's about.

  • Comment number 68.

    dont worry andy carrol is the future

  • Comment number 69.

    Doesn't deserve to wear the England shirt.

    Don't ask why.

    ok, I'm still better about why he left Sunderland and I do feel he's absense is linked to our disastorious run of form. However, for England he is decent I'll give him that and my anger to show Blatter we are still a force in football is overpowering the fact that I don't like Darren Bent anymore.

  • Comment number 70.

    Bent is an ok player but he wouldnt get into any of the top 10 european club teams. Unfortunately England are not producing quality strikers at the moment to compare with the likes of Villa,Torres, Aguero, Eto, Drogba etc. England are an average team with average players bar the odd one or 2 such as Rooney, Wiltshire, Gerrard. We'll qualify for Euro 2012 struggle to get out the group stages and then get panned by either Portugal, Germany, Holland, Spain, France... If I was the FA I'd pull England out of international competition as a statement against the Fifa nut jobs and save ourselves the over hyped build up to an inevitable failure!

  • Comment number 71.

    what the dude said about bent being excellent at nothing? thats the right thing. hes mediocre, one of those you look at and go 'oh ok why is he playing at this level?' sure hes athletic enough but hes seriously not a good footballer. His work rate is incredibly poor aswell, if bents not got the ball bents not doing anything, his movement off the ball is liek the antithesis fo good attacking play.

  • Comment number 72.

    #71 obviously has no idea about football (or good centre forwards for that matter) which is probably why they're not a pro-footballer themselves! I suppose Berbatov is rubbish too?!

    Played against Darren when I was 15 and he was an awesome goalscorer then. He is a centre forward that is strong enough to hold up play, he's ok in the air, he can score with both feet, he's quick off the mark and can play like a target man or as an 'off-the-shoulder' striker. He is by far the best all-round striker England have and his call-up is LONG overdue.
    His 1st season in the PL with Charlton= 20+ LEAGUE goals. He was 21!
    I ask you all to name another striker, that is currently playing that has a goalscoring record of Bents calibre...apart from Rooney!

  • Comment number 73.

    @71 Clearly have absolutely no idea what your talking about do you! Absolute arm chair pundit muppet!

  • Comment number 74.

    Can the clubs not start pre-season friendlies already?

    Anything is better than international football.

  • Comment number 75.

    Good player and probably Englands best out and out striker. Will be interesting to see what happens when Andy Carroll is fit again.

    My only real concern is the number of sitters that Bent misses. Seems to score the harder opportunities and miss the easiest ones!

  • Comment number 76.

    Typical don't-give-a-s*** club follower.
    Good luck following your mainly commercial whore league, where money prevails over developing PROPER youth team players (apart from if you're lower down the league).

  • Comment number 77.

    Typical don't-give-a-s*** club follower.
    Good luck following your mainly commercial whore league, where money prevails over developing PROPER youth team players (apart from if you're lower down the league).


    Calm down pal! It's only my opinion, I don't really like international football that's all. Those that do, enjoy the game. I still hope England win.

    Back to topic, I think Bent is massively under-rated. He's scored goals at every team he's been at, even at Spurs his record was good. I was amazed initially at how much Villa paid for him but compare that to the Torres/Carroll transfers and it looks a bargain.

  • Comment number 78.

    Personally, as a Spurs fan, I always felt we kept the wrong strikers. Bent never got a fair shake behind the duo from Portsmouth.

  • Comment number 79.

    @77 I'm with you - International football is dull, give me a good PL game anyday! England will only ever do one thing....disappoint us!

  • Comment number 80.

    Skillful Darren Bent is showing hunger and knack for scoring goals. May the young man keep doing just that for his club, country and for his ever increasing fans.

    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 81.

    Bent has certainly improved his finishing and confidence since I used to watch him at Tottenham, but I still do not regard him as a top class performer. He is one of those players, like Defoe who has hot streaks and he's on one at the moment, so let's make the best of it. He needs a team that has a direct style and plays the ball in early and he gets that at Villa, but rarely did at Tottenham.

  • Comment number 82.

    #2 "Bent is a decent player" hahahahaha scoring s*** loads of goals only makes you decent does it!?

  • Comment number 83.

    Swindleblue army

    OK maybe the media aren't having a love in with Citeh - but what do you expect? They certainly aren't hammering them though! At least you are in one of the NW, London or the 'romantic' NE - areas where you get some coverage...unlike the Midlands.

    Actually suprised this blog is featuring a midlands based player...

  • Comment number 84.

    In all honesty, people that suggest Defoe, Crouch, and Carrol are better strikers than Bent need to get a grip. Bent over the past 3/4 seasons if im not mistaken has been one of the most prolific strikers only behind Drogba and Rooney (and maybe Tevez if he stays in the EPL longer). His move to Villa I believe has helped him establish himself as a regular international forward, by playing with fellow England internationals. his move from Sunderland to Aston Villa was a sensible one, and im sure most black cat fans would have dreamed of having him leading the line in the second part of the season.

  • Comment number 85.

    For me, it's not simply a matter of a player's individual qualities, but how he links up with others. The advantage for Bent is palying alongside Young and Downing, but it remains to be seen how long that will last. I can see Capello bringing Carroll into the side on a permanent basis in the future, so Bent will have to perform to his best to retain a starting place. Capello has often preferred a hulking centre-forward and Carroll fits the bill nicely.

  • Comment number 86.

    Darren Bent has been a top striker going way back to 2005/2006 season when he played for Charlton in the premier league with 18 goals, behind van Nistelrooy 21 and Thierry Henry 27.

    So even back then he was the top English striker

    It would'nt matter to me who they play for, if there doing a job for there club they should get a chance for there country, as for Capello not going to "the stadium of light" thats just C**p, the guy must watch Match of the day surely !

  • Comment number 87.

    I have a vivid memory of Harry's "my missus could've scored that" jibe when Darren Bent missed an easy header at the far post that he was clearly embarrassed about missing himself. I had a bit of a giggle at 'arry the geezer's response but still felt it was out of order to single out one mistake by your own player in that manner.

    Oceans of water have gone under the bridge since then and now Darren's a hero already at Villa and first choice England striker, a fantastic turnaround from a very determined man. I'm reallly excited about next season and as long as we hold on to our other top class players then I'm confident we'll see a 20 plus return from heaven sent Darren Bent.

    Best of luck to Darren in bagging his first England goal at Wembley today. I hope he'll once again prove Harry was a and score a fine hat trick.

  • Comment number 88.

    Who cares about Darren Bent?

    Why hasn't Capello got Michael Owen in the squad/ starting eleven.

    Bent will never get anywhere near Michael Owen's strike record for England against e.g. Brazil, Germany etc ... Owen is a genuine big match player and is still, by far, the best that England have got and have had for quite a while.

    Sack Capello now - JUST SACK HIM!

  • Comment number 89.

    There are some real muppets about haha! He is a quality goalscorer which is what we want, he is ok at holding up the ball etc. Surely this is better than Heskey who was slightly better at the hold up but can't score to save his life? Why people think having him instead of Crouch or Emile is a bad thing I don't know. Somebody said earlier about Defoe being a better goalscorer but Bent has a much better goal per minute ratio year on year than any of the competitors including Jermain so that clearly isn't true.
    I think he is our best option until we hopefully see Daniel Sturridge or Andy Carroll make the step up to consistent top-level goalscoring.

  • Comment number 90.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 91.

    Try again as moderators didn't like (?) a reference to a certain 'England manager'


    Bent relishes centre stage with England


    Michael Owen - up there with Sir Bobby, Greavsie, Linneker on 40 + goals ... and where the XXXX is Bent - On a measly three goals!

    How can anyone with 3 goals to their name keep Michael Owen out of any England team?

  • Comment number 92.

    I hope Bent gets 37 goals this afternoon - then he will deserve to be considered against Michael Owen for England team selection

  • Comment number 93.

    This is how bored i am i used to fill my work days on 606 now me a scotsman is having to read about england strikers.

    BRING BACK 606

  • Comment number 94.

    What did I tell you - Bent missed two chances that Owen would have buried.
    England now struggling to qualify for Euro finals with a manager who still doesn't know who should be in England's best 11.
    If Owen is fit, you play him - and make a place for him
    Owen would have passed Bobby Charlton's goal record by now if it had not been for that idiotic England manager - Geev me wone Cornetto!
    Come back Graham Taylor all is forgiven.

  • Comment number 95.

    Redknapp's missus could've scored those two tonight, eh?

    Usually I wouldn't suggest sacking a manager, but frankly, I think Capello has pretty much got to go now. There is no evidence whatsoever that we'll be any better at Euro 2012 than we were at WC 2010 - worse than that, we have actually gone downhill in comparison to our World Cup qualifying campaign.

    I don't think anyone can really be confident that Capello can turn things around, because he isn't showing any signs of having even a single clue about what to do to fix England's issues.

    Sack him now, because we all know he's going after 2012 anyway - and since we're not going to do well at that tournament (assuming we're even there!), we may as well get someone else in who can start preparing for the future and maybe even surprise us.


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.