England v Montenegro: Steve Bruce says Darren Bent is one of best strikers in the business
Bent is expected to spearhead England's attack against Montenegro in Tuesday's Euro 2012 qualifier at Wembley and Bruce has backed his international credentials by bracketing him with the best strikers in the business thanks to his "cold, ruthless" streak. "Over the 15 months he's been here with me, Darren's record is there for all to see - he's up with the very best," Bruce said. "Last season, only Wayne Rooney and Didier Drogba scored more goals than Darren. And this season, he's up amongst the very best once again. "He's at Sunderland, not Manchester United or Chelsea, and with the best will in the world we create fewer chances than those top clubs. A lot of players when they get in front of goal get a bit nervous. But Darren goes cold, ruthless. After scoring 24 Premier League goals last season following a move from Tottenham that could be worth £16 million to the North London club, Bruce has seen Bent continue to blossom this term with five top-flight goals and his maiden goal for England in the 3-1 win over Switzerland last month. "Over the last few weeks, Darren has played very, very well," Bruce added. "Whether that's because that goal for England has given him a bit of confidence, I'm not sure. "He's set an unbelievable standard for himself here. He's scored 32 goals in 49 games in all competitions for us so far, including the first goal in 18 of those games - it's a staggering return. Let's hope he keeps on going and producing that kind of form. "He's got the knack. For instance, the late equaliser he got against Arsenal the other week - why does the ball fall to him? There were a lot of people in the box, but you have to have the goalscorers' knack of being in the right place at the right time and he's got that. "He's done terrifically well for us. He's a typical goalscorer. Scoring goals is what he loves to do and what he lives for. He's not happy unless he scores a goal."
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