Shearer backing Bent to succeed
SUNDERLAND striker Darren Bent has been backed to prove he is worth his recall by England hero Alan Shearer. Eight goals for the Black Cats since his £10m move from Tottenham in the summer have propelled Bent into the thinking of England boss Fabio Capello for this Saturday's friendly with Brazil. His return to the international fold offers a glimmer of hope to a forward who had started to fear his hopes of playing in next summer's World Cup finals had gone. It remains to be seen just how much action he is handed in Qatar against Brazil this weekend Shearer, however, is in no doubt that the Sunderland striker deserves his recall after an eight-month absence. Newcastle's record scorer has met the player and was impressed by his approach to life in the North-East. It's great that he's playing regular football and it's also great that for Sunderland he's up there alongside Kenwyne Jones, said Shearer. They seem to have hit it off in a way that myself and Les Ferdinand did. I'm not comparing the two teams or, indeed, suggesting that Sunderland are as attack-minded as that Newcastle side was, but they seem to have something similar to that; they're both decent in the air, both quick and they're a real handful to defenders. He seems to have really taken to life up here. He said he was enjoying it, that he loved it up here. He's loving life. I think you have to do that. It must be difficult, particularly coming from London up to this area, and then sort of settling in straight away, it could take time or it could click straight away and it looks to me as if he's happy in his life and that's reflecting on the pitch. Shearer is not entirely convinced Bent's call-up will lead to a place in the World Cup squad, but he feels the forward has every chance if his good form continues. He's had a great start to his Sunderland career. I spoke to Steve Bruce about him as well and he's been very impressed with him. This season, obviously, is the first time he's worked with him at close quarters and he said he has been very, very good, said Shearer. If he gets his chance against Brazil then great and good luck to him, because he deserves it because of the way he started the season. The most important thing Darren can do is score or try to score. Whether we like it or not, forwards are judged on goals. The reason why we're talking about Darren Bent is because he's scoring goals and we wouldn't be if he had been playing fantastically well and not scored. Unfortunately, you don't get many chances for your country, so when those chances come along you have to try to take them. I hope he does, because when I spoke to him he seemed a really nice guy, level-headed and genuine. If he gets his chance, I hope he takes it. Bent's prospects of playing in South Africa appear to hinge on how he performs this Saturday, which will be the first of just two friendlies before Capello names his provisional squad for the finals. Rooney will go, I'm pretty sure Jermain Defoe will go. Crouch, probably, because he's another option. Maybe Heskey, said Shearer. So there's probably three or four players vying for one or two places and Darren will be one of them, Carlton Cole might be another, Michael Owen. Gabriel Agbonlahor. He probably will take five strikers in the end, so hopefully he can do enough to get there. Alan Shearer was speaking at the launch of A Knight To Remember' a DVD which celebrates the life of Sir Bobby Robson and the proceeds of which will go to support the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
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