Sunderland's Darren Bent changing priorities to ensure England World Cup call up
29 September 2009 01:23
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The former Tottenham striker incurred the wrath of Bruce during the 5-2 defeat of Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend when he handed over the penalty-taking duties to fellow forward Kenwyne Jones.
Bent had already converted a spot-kick but then took everyone by surprise by handing the next penalty over to Jones who duly converted his own effort but the pair were later publicly rebuked for their conduct by Bruce.
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That has been enough for Bent to change his ways - a move that could help him win a place in Fabio Capello's England squad ahead of next summer's World Cup finals in South Africa.
"There is no way I would hand over a penalty again," Bent said. "I think I'd rather not do it because I don't want to get the rap from Steve Bruce again.
"I thought he'd been playing really well without getting the goal he deserved. He said he fancied and I'd already had one so I said 'Have it'. I think if he hadn't scored the first from the spot, maybe he wouldn't have scored his second goal which was really important.
"I was delighted to get two and happy that Kenwyne got two as well. But the gaffer had a go at me afterwards and when I was thinking about it, maybe I shouldn't have done it. If he hadn't scored I suppose the gaffer wouldn't have been happy. Kenwyne being Kenwyne, though, I knew he was going to score.
"In my defence it shows that team spirit is great here. It's about building bridges with your new team-mates and hopefully I'm doing that - we've done well so far this season and we want to get better.
"It's important that all of the strikers are firing for the club. It's not just about me, it's important Kenwyne is firing and Fraizer Campbell is firing as well - like he was in midweek. It can only be good for the club that we've got so many players who are capable of scoring goals and are in good form. That was why I gave Kenwyne the penalty."
Bent has also insisted that he deserved to be credited with two goals against Wolves even thought his second effort appears to have gone to Michael Mancienne as an own goal.
"I'm definitely claiming it. I just spoke to the video guy and it was on target so I'm taking the credit for it," Bent said. "I'm delighted with my form at the moment and hopefully there will be more goals for me in the next few weeks.
This is part of Bent's campaign to make sure that he is on the England plane bound for South Africa next June.
"I can't do much more than I'm doing at the moment. Hopefully the England manager is watching but if he's not I won't let my head drop, I'll keep knocking them in for Sunderland," Bent said.
"We've got two really difficult games coming up. At the same time we're very confident because we've had a good start to the season.
"I definitely still believe I'm an England player. I've not had the best of luck with England. The last time I played against Germany I went round the keeper and slipped over - things like that define your England career. If that goes in I could be in the next four or five squads - but it wasn't meant to be.
"You can't really be judged on twenty minutes here, twenty minutes there. If I get a regular run in the team and play some games in the run up to the World Cup I'd back myself every day of the week to score goals for my country and play well. The moment I stop scoring goals is the moment people start saying I don't deserve to be there."
Bent is also keen to make up for being overlooked in favour of Theo Walcott at the last finals.
"I was unfortunate to miss the last one," Bent continued. "I remember I scored a lot of goals that season and I was at the same stage that year that I am now - seven in seven.
"But I didn't go and it was a big disappointment. If that happened again I would be heartbroken again but I can't let that affect me or worry me because the important thing is scoring for Sunderland."