Make Or Break At Spurs For Bent
Tottenham striker Darren Bent admits his future at White Hart Lane is likely to be decided in the next month and will depend on the role he plays in the club's late push for European football. Bent is Spurs' top scorer this season with 16 goals but the return of Jermain Defoe and Robbie Keane has intensified competition for starting places. Defoe has now recovered from his foot injury and it means Bent could be back on the bench after starting the last six Premier League games. With five matches to go and Spurs chasing a seventh-placed finish, Bent agreed that who starts in those matches could point towards where his future lies. "No-one likes to sit on the bench," said the 25-year-old. "I'll have to see what happens and take it from there. My season has been up and down. The end of the season is coming and we'll have to see what happens after that." Bent feels there is a World Cup place up for grabs next year with England if he is playing regular football. "I would have liked to have played more games and scored more goals," he said. "The manager has got decisions to make. He's got fantastic strikers and you have to bide your time. "If you don't play for your club regularly, you won't play for England. As long as I can keep working hard and scoring goals, hopefully I'll be in there." Bent has been encouraged by advice from England boss Fabio Capello, who was at White Hart Lane at the weekend to watch Bent score the winner against Newcastle. "(Wayne) Rooney is obviously the number one, and there is always a fight for the other spot," Bent admitted. "As long as I can keep scoring goals and playing well when he's watching me, it's all I can ask for. "Fabio is the best England manager we've had for a long time. He's told me on a personal level what he wants from me. He tells you face to face what he wants, which is what you need as a player." Roman Pavlyuchenko missed the Newcastle win with a back injury but could add to Bent's competition for the trip to Manchester United on Saturday. "I think that in a day or two everything will be fine and I'll be fully prepared for the next game," he said. "Moreover, we will be going to play Manchester United." Getting a result at Old Trafford would enhance Spurs' European hopes, although boss Harry Redknapp admits it would be a "distraction" next season. Redknapp had to juggle a relegation battle and a fight for silverware on two fronts since arriving at the club six months ago, with the UEFA Cup the least important of his priorities. The Spurs boss will also be aware the last time the club challenged for a place in the top four their focus was solely on the league, having been knocked out of domestic trophies at the first hurdles three years ago. He is still focused on getting the club into the revamped Europa League - but knows the problems it brings. "I'd be a liar if I said it wasn't a bit of a distraction, it makes it hard in terms of league position and everything else," he said. "But you're pride wants you to get there. "From where we were it would be a terrific achievement - that is my aim now, to try to achieve that." Michael Dawson was carried off on a stretcher against Newcastle after an ankle injury, with the club's medical staff waiting for swelling to subside before determining the full extent of the damage.
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