So Fabio Capello has named his provisional squad of 30 for this year’s World Cup after weeks of speculation. Most of which has eminated from the red and white striped section of the north east of England, with the locals all clamouring for the inclusion of a certain Darren Bent (or ‘The scorer of Sunderland’s first goal…..Daaaarrrrreeeen Beeennnnt! as he is often announced on a Saturday afternoon).
There is no questioning Bent’s goalscoring credentials. In no way, shape or form can this season be put down as a ‘one off’. Bent has been putting the ball into the back of opposition nets for several years now without any real recognition at the highest level. Five appearances (only two starts) have yielded no goals and no indication of him re-producing his club form in an England shirt.
It has encouraged his ‘followers’ on the terraces and also social networking sites, to bleat and moan that his limited chances are purely down to him not playing for a more established Premier League club. ‘It was the same with Kevin Phillips’ they’ll say or ‘Capello doesn’t go north of London’.
The real problem that Bent has got is his style of play. His hold up play is decent, but no better than that. His big asset is his ability to get beyond the last man and finish chances. Unfortunately, these chances don’t come along too often in International football. So to be a success in International football, a forward must tick more than one or two boxes. He needs to tick several more.
Better forwards than Darren Bent have been overlooked down the years. Robbie Fowler and Andrew Cole to name two. They may have been involved in more squads and played a few more games, but in reality they were never considered to be genuine contenders when the big tournaments rolled around.
Having thought about Bent’s success in recent years, most of his goals have come with him playing in teams that play around to his strengths and he has been a focal point for these sides with lesser players in their ranks. I’m afraid that this is not going to happen for England.
Wayne Rooney is England’s focal point. And a world class one at that. Jermaine Defoe gives a more potent threat in and around a target man than Bent does. Both Peter Crouch and Emile Heskey are target men that England have used to great effect in recent times. These four reasons, along with Theo Walcott’s seemingly uncanny hold over all England managers will put an end to Bent’s hopes of boarding the plane to South Africa.
I won’t lose any sleep over it, and I don’t think Sunderland fans should either. Bent will be fresh at the start of another huge season for the club having had the summer off and one can only imagine he will come roaring back with a point to prove to the national selection committee.
For his efforts this season, he deserves to be in the final 23…….but in harsh reality of what is best for the national side, he simply doesn’t quite have that extra special something that is needed for the top level.