Darren Bent will prove England credentials against Tottenham says Steve Bruce
Bent has fallen out of favour with England's head coach recently but a World Cup opening has emerged for the forward with an injury that threatens to keep Carlton Cole sidelined. With a friendly against Brazil looming a week on Saturday, Bruce is hoping he grabs the chance with both hands at White Hart Lane when he returns to his old club for the first time since Spurs manager Harry Redknapp sold him to Sunderland. Related ArticlesTottenham v Sunderland: match previewPremier League tablePremier League fixturesSport on television"The kid obviously wants to play for England," Bruce said. "I don't know whether he will get his chance or whether this opens up a door for him but I hope so for Darren's sake. "If not he will just have to keep plugging away. There's is always one that comes through and Theo Walcott was the last one at Darren's expense I believe. "He's got to make sure he stays focused. We're getting into November now and there's still a pile of games to go. Somebody will come out of nowhere and grab a place "I think Capello knows 16 of the 23-man squad he will take to South Africa. There's probably seven places up for grabs. Certainly, if picking 23, you would probably pick five strikers. "I hope Darren is one of them. He is good in the air, he is quick, and he works hard and is probably a better footballer than I thought he was." The former Charlton and Ipswich striker has certainly impressed Bruce since he became Sunderland's £10 million record signing last summer and already has eight goals to his credit this season. "I made a phone call to Harry within 24 hours of getting the Sunderland manager's job," Bruce said. "His record though he hadn't played a lot for Spurs, still stands up to comparison with most. I will never forget the season at Charlton - for me he should have gone to the World Cup when Sven-Goran Eriksson took Walcott instead. "He had 22 goals for Charlton when they got relegated which is quite unbelievable achievement. So I have always liked him from the first time I saw him." Off the field, Bent has proved a hit on Wearside. "He's got a fantastic attitude - he's our record signing, but he attends more charity functions, does more stuff for the kids and the foundation than any other player and it is always nice to have that," Bruce continued. "There was never a hint of 'I don't want to come to Sunderland'. It's not Outer Mongolia, but for some people it's an issue. You would think we were on Planet Zeus up here, but it was never an issue. Darren plays and trains with a smile on his face, He is a very good player and a decent lad." Bent was deemed surplus to requirements by Redknapp but Bruce has insisted he will have nothing to prove in North London. "I don't think he has got anything to prove at all. He has done it all on the pitch over the last three or four months here," Bruce added. "He's the top English goalscorers in the division and when you think of all the players in the Premier League, he is right up there at the top of the charts. "We have all seen him for the last three or four months. He has been fantastic, so I hope he can just enjoy going back to Tottenham, score a goal - that would be nice - win the match - that would be even better - and that will certainly put a smile on his face."
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