Bent is better than ever

30 December 2009 10:37
ONLY five months after joining Sunderland Darren Bent believes that he is a much improved player since he quit Tottenham Hotspur.

The Black Cats striker netted twice at Blackburn Rovers on Monday afternoon to close the gap on the Premier League's leading marksmen to just one goal.

His first effort was a typical opportunists finish but the second, when set through by Jordan Henderson to run at goal, showed that Bent has developed an assuredness that eluded him during his unhappy spell at White Hart Lane.

Sunderland's protracted wrangling with Spurs over the summer sale of Bent prompted the striker's infamous message on the internet site Twitter where he expressed growing frustration with the Tottenham hierarchy's unwillingess to release him.

His eagerness to put behind his patchy stint with the London club, where he scored a respectable 21 goals in two seasons, has, he admits, spurred him on to prove his worth.

While his former boss Harry Redknapp turned increasingly to Robbie Keane, Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch for goals, Steve Bruce has rebuilt Bent's confidence by reassuring him that he is the Wearsiders number one striker.

His manager's unshakable faith in his abilities is giving Bent the belief that he will score and create chances every time he is in the opposition penalty area.

Am I a better striker than when I was at Tottenham Yeah, definitely, confirmed the 25-year-old.

The main thing is I'm playing games now, which I wasn't doing then. I've always just tried when I go through to hit the target. If I hit the target and he makes a save, someone else can put it in.

Luckily enough on Monday it went in and the team got a point.

Bent's relatively meagre eight-goal haul in his debut season for Spurs, following a £16.5m move from Charlton Athletic, sowed doubts about his ability to net on a consistent basis and he struggled thereafter to convince the Tottenham faithful of his worth.

But his impact on Wearside has been immediate and set him on course to become the first Sunderland striker in ten years to break the barrier of 20 goals in a Premier League season.

I didn't really think about how many goals I'd get when I joined, I just wanted to hold down a place in the Sunderland first team. I've managed to get 13 already and hopefully I can get many more, revealed Bent.

While Bruce may be tempted to rest his main forward for Saturday's FA Cup third round encounter at home to Conference side Barrow, Bent fears that a weekend on the sidelines could see him lose his rich vein of form and he urged his manager to hand him a start.

I'm a footballer and I want to play every game possible. I'll be knocking down the manager's door,'' he said.

The FA Cup is a special competition and you don't want to miss games. I find when I miss games I get out of rhythm.

It's a great chance to get a good performance under our belts and if we do that we can build on it against Bolton.

Source: Northern_Echo