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Bent targets a century of Premier goals
Published : 18 Sep 2010 09:40:36Rss feed
HAVING realised one of his major ambitions when he scored his first international goal at the start of the month, Darren Bent is hoping to achieve another of his leading targets before the end of the season by joining an elite band of players to have scored 100 Premier League goals. Bent broke his international duck in Basle, scoring the final goal of England's 3-1 win over Switzerland, and having finally proven himself at international level, the Sunderland striker is turning his attention back towards domestic matters ahead of this evening's game with Arsenal. The 26-year-old is currently 35th on the Premier League's all-time list of goalscorers, with 76 strikes for a combination of Ipswich, Charlton, Tottenham and Sunderland. He needs 24 more to become only the 20th player to break the century barrier, and admits the milestone is regularly in his thoughts. I've played for my country and now I've scored for my country and nobody can take those things away from me, said Bent, who can expect to be involved when England play their next Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro next month. It's definitely one more thing I can tick off my list, but there are still a few more things on it. The main priority is to do as well as I can for Sunderland, but after that, I want to get in the 100 club for scoring goals in the Premier League. I think about that a lot and the quicker I get into that group, the better, because not just anybody gets into that. The sooner I do that, the quicker I can have a crack at really motoring up the table. Bent's first chance to improve his tally comes this evening, as Sunderland take on the side he supported as a child. Having been born in Tooting, south London, the striker might have been expected to grow up supporting Chelsea, especially as his father was a long-time admirer of the Blues. But Bent's team was always Arsenal, and after spending a number of Saturday afternoons on Highbury's North Bank, he spent his boyhood days attempting to emulate his hero, Ian Wright. I was an Arsenal fan as a kid and Ian Wright was my big hero, said Bent. In the later years, it was more Thierry Henry, who was fantastic, but in the earlier days, when I was young and used to go and watch them on a regular basis, it was Ian Wright. I used to sit in the North Bank. My dad's a big Chelsea man, so I used to go and watch them a lot too, because he would take me, but it was always Arsenal for me. I was down there as often as I could get. It was way before Arsene Wenger it was George Graham, Bruce Rioch. That's how far back it was. They've always been a really classy side. Whatever era it was, they've just oozed it, the way they play the game, even their kit they come across like a million dollars. I pretended to be Ian Wright in the playground most often, although being young it was also whichever striker was hot and scoring at the time. It might have been Ian who I've met a couple of times but it also might have been Dwight Yorke, Andrew Cole, even Alan Shearer. Had Bent been growing up during this year's World Cup finals, there is every chance he would have been attempting to mimic his new Sunderland team-mate, Asamoah Gyan. The Ghana international was one of the stars of this summer's tournament in South Africa, and hit the ground running for the Black Cats last weekend when he scored on his debut at Wigan. It remains to be seen whether both players feature in today's game, or whether Bruce's preference for a five-man midfield means one or the other will be left on the bench, but the signs for their partnership going forward appear bright. I was really happy for him to get his first goal and it was a nice finish, said Bent. Hopefully, he'll kick on from that and the team will too. Until Asamoah scored, I think I was the only Sunderland player who'd got a goal this season, so it's good there are now a couple of us who can stick the ball in the back of the net, particularly with Fraizer (Campbell) being out for the rest of the season. It's only going to help move the club in the direction it wants to go in. Asamoah's been brilliant. He's always dancing and singing. It's nice when you come in to work and there's a guy who's always smiling and cracking jokes and that's exactly what he's been like. He's such a nice guy. I feel like I was one of the first people who spotted his music video, so I looked it up, tweeted about it and put a YouTube link up. He hasn't been hammered about the video at all, because it's actually a nice song. Jordan Henderson loves it. On the way home from Wigan, he must have played it on my laptop about 15 times in a row.