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Hero Bent benefits from Bruce?s personal touch
Published : 17 Aug 2009 10:38:07Rss feed
Darren Bent has experienced both managerial methods at the first hand in the last two seasons, and the Sunderland striker knows which he prefers. Having been either ignored or insulted by Harry Redknapp during his previous spell at Tottenham, Bent admits he was in need of some care and attention when he left White Hart Lane this summer. He has received both from Steve Bruce, with the Black Cats boss dedicating a number of one-on-one sessions to rebuilding the £10m strikers confidence following his transfer to the Stadium of Light. The result was evident on Saturday, with Bent needing just five minutes to open his Sunderland account and secure a 1-0 win over Bolton, and the England international is delighted to finally be working for a manager who values and supports him. Maybe Im the type of player who needs an arm around the shoulder sometimes, said Bent, who would have added a second on Saturday had it not been for a fine low save from Jussi Jaaskelainen. But every player, no matter who they are, needs the support of their manager at the end of the day. At times last season, I felt I was left hung out to dry, regardless of how I played or how many goals I scored, but since Ive been at Sunderland, its been fantastic. I love being around the place. The manager has made a point of talking to me every day, encouraging me, telling me what he thinks of me and what he knows I can do. That makes me believe in myself and hopefully I can repay him for that. As well as enjoying his new relationship with Bruce, Bent also feels he is benefiting from the togetherness and camaraderie that has been fostered by the new Sunderland boss. The arrival of five summer signings, with Ghana centrehalf John Mensah expected to join in a one-year deal today, has removed some of the stagnation that was beginning to become apparent at the end of last season. In its place has emerged a new-found sense of purpose, with Sunderlands players desperate to take the club to the next level following a summer investment programme that will eventually top the £25m mark. It definitely feels as though Ive come to a club which is about to enter a new era in its history, said Bent. This is a club going forward. The atmosphere around Sunderland has been terrific ever since I joined the club. Its just nice to be enjoying my football again, to be at a place I can enjoy being at and hopefully I can reap the rewards from that. Theres a massive feeling of togetherness around the place and its completely different from my time at Spurs. Ive only been here for a short time, but we all seem to be together and were all fighting for each other. We know that last season was a tough one for this club and we desperately dont want to repeat that. Bents next outing will come in tomorrow nights home game with Chelsea, and having linked up effectively with Kenwyne Jones at the Reebok Stadium, the striker is looking forward to playing alongside his new Trinbagonian partner against the Blues. The understanding with Kenwyne feels promising, he said. Hes a fantastic striker. Hes so strong. He took such a big weight off my shoulders. Last season, playing with either (Robbie) Keane or (Jermain) Defoe, I was mainly acting as the big man. But with Kenwyne it allows me to play a different role and one I prefer. My natural game is playing off the last defender. Probably, p people didnt see the best of me when I was at Tottenham for that reason. I was playing as the target man, which isnt really me."