FOOTBALL : Sunderland boss Steve Bruce backed Darren Bent’s claims on a place in England’s World Cup squad after seeing him fire Arsenal to their first defeat in 14 games.
Sunderland boss Steve Bruce backed Darren Bent’s claims on a place in England’s World Cup squad after seeing him fire Arsenal to their first defeat in 14 games.
Bent’s 71st-minute strike, his ninth goal of the season, put paid to the Gunners’ hopes on Wearside as the Black Cats prevented them from scoring for the first time this season. It was the perfect response after his disappointing showing in England’s friendly defeat by Brazil in Doha last weekend, and left his manager championing his cause to national coach Fabio Capello once again.
Asked if he would take Bent to South Africa if he were England manager, Bruce replied: “Absolutely, 100%. If there is a better one than him…we all know [Wayne] Rooney. But it’s not just his goalscoring, his appetite and his work-rate are absolutely unbelievable.”
He added: “He played on his own and ran a million miles for the team.
“For me, he would have to be [in the squad] because he scores a goal – he has scored against all the big clubs.
“I don’t think he is going to be judged on a 55-minute friendly [appearance] in Qatar. I don’t think Mr Capello will take any notice of that.
“I would have thought he will pick a team that’s in form, and when you have got an outstanding goalscorer, as Darren is…
“That shows what type of person he is. His overall work-rate and attitude for it were terrific after what has been a difficult couple of weeks for him, missing [a penalty] at Tottenham and then the England debacle.
“But he has bounced back the way he should.”