DARREN Bent has defended his controversial decision to hand over penalty-taking duties to Kenwyne Jones, but admitted he will not be repeating it in a hurry.
Having won his second penalty of the match during Sundayâ€™s 5-2 win over Wolves, Bent opted to hand the ball to Jones rather than step up to the spot for a second time himself.
Black Cats boss Steve Bruce was quick to criticise the decision, claiming it represented the kind of laid-back mentality he is trying to change at the Stadium of Light.
Bent now accepts he should have taken the spot-kick himself, but Sunderlandâ€™s record signing claims his act of selflessness was proof of a strong team spirit.
â€œIt can only be good for the club that we have so many players who are capable of scoring goals and are in good form,â€ said Bent, who is claiming Sunderlandâ€™s fifth goal as his own, despite it being officially credited as a Michael Mancienne own goal.
â€œThat was why I gave Kenwyne the penalty.
â€œI thought heâ€™d been playing really well without getting the goal he deserved.
â€œHe said he fancied it and Iâ€™d already had one, so I said â€˜Have itâ€™. I think if he hadnâ€™t scored his first from the spot, he might not have scored his second, which was really important.
â€œI was delighted to get two, and happy Kenwyne got two as well.
â€œIf he hadnâ€™t scored, I suppose the gaffer wouldnâ€™t have been happy. Kenwyne being Kenwyne, though, I knew he was going to score.
â€œIn my defence, it shows that team spirit is great here.
Itâ€™s about building bridges with your new team-mates, and hopefully Iâ€™m doing that.
Weâ€™ve done well so far this season, and we want to get better.â€
Nevertheless, Bent has promised to be more ruthless in the future, and if Sunderland are awarded a penalty at Old Trafford this weekend, there will be no doubt about who will be stepping up to take it.
â€œThe gaffer has had a go at me, and when I was thinking about it, maybe I shouldnâ€™t have done it,â€ he said.
â€œThereâ€™s no way I would do it again because I donâ€™t want to get the rap from Steve Bruce again!â€
If Bent is allowed to keep Sundayâ€™s 90th-minute strike, he will have scored seven goals in seven games since making a Â£10m move from Tottenham.
The striker has certainly hit the ground running since his summer switch from White Hart Lane, bolstering his hopes of a recall to the England squad.
Bentâ€™s last international appearance came in last Novemberâ€™s 2-1 friendly win in Germany, and while the likes of Jermain Defoe and Carlton Cole have leapt above him in the pecking order in recent months, the 25-year-old is currently the leading Englishman in the Premier League goalscoring charts.
â€œI canâ€™t do much more than Iâ€™m doing at the moment,â€ he said. â€œHopefully, the England manager is watching, but if heâ€™s not, I wonâ€™t let my head drop, Iâ€™ll keep knocking them in for Sunderland.
â€œI definitely still believe Iâ€™m an England player. Iâ€™ve not had the best of luck with England. The last time I played against Germany, I went round the keeper and slipped over â€“ things like that define your England career.
â€œIf that goes in, I could be in the next four or five squads â€“ but it wasnâ€™t meant to be.
You canâ€™t really be judged on 20 minutes here, 20 minutes there.
â€œIf I get a regular run in the team and play some games in the run-up to the World Cup, Iâ€™d back myself every day of the week to score goals for my country and play well. The moment I stop scoring goals is the moment people start saying I donâ€™t deserve to be there.â€