Steve Bruce is hoping Darren Bent's World Cup heartache will prove a bonus for Sunderland.
The 26-year-old striker was one of the seven men left out of England boss Fabio Capello's final 23 as he missed out on a chance to prove himself on the big stage for the second time in his career. Bruce championed his Â£10million signing's cause throughout a debut season on Wearside which brought him 25 goals, 24 of them in the Barclays Premier League.
Bruce told the Sunderland Echo: "As his manager, you want Darren to go to the World Cup for his own sake. The way the lad played over the course of the season, I think he couldn't have made much of a stronger case for himself. But from a selfish point of view, England's loss would be Sunderland's gain."
He added: "Darren not going would mean that he gets a proper summer's rest and he will hopefully come back to us physically and mentally refreshed.
"If you don't go to the World Cup after scoring that many goals and after scoring that many more than some of your rivals, well, I suppose you might feel you have to point to prove.
"What better incentive can you have for next season?"