FOOTBALL : Fabio Capello is looking forward to seeing exactly what Darren Bent can do for England.
Fabio Capello is looking forward to seeing exactly what Darren Bent can do for England.
The Sunderland striker looks like being handed a surprise start in the friendly with Brazil in Doha on Saturday evening, with the challenge of a place at next summer’s World Cup the carrot being dangled in front of him.
“I need to know more about Bent,” he said. “I like his pace. He is quick, he attacks the space. His movement without the ball is excellent and his ability in front of goal is very good. I want to see this again.”
Fringe places for the 23-man World Cup squad are still up for grabs, including at least one striking berth and possibly two. Some of the squad men are keen to become regulars, and it will be a hungry England side that goes up against Brazil.
Although he did not quite name his starting line-up, Capello only left a few gaps. Bent and captain-in-waiting Wayne Rooney up front. Shaun Wright-Phillips, Gareth Barry, Michael Carrick and James Milner across midfield, Wayne Bridge at left-back.
Matthew Upson will play in central defence, alongside John Terry if the England skipper overcomes an ankle injury, possibly Gary Cahill if not, which would be the first time a Bolton player has worn the Three Lions since Michael Ricketts in February 2002.
Unlike Cahill, Rooney does not require a stellar performance against the five-times world champions to book his ticket to South Africa next summer.
However, the captain’s armband would be an amazing way to end a fortnight which started with the birth of his first child, Kai.
“Rooney is ready,” said Capello “Some of the best players in the world were captains and also scored goals; Pele, Cruyff, Platini, Maradona. My captain is John Terry and vice-captain is Rio Ferdinand because they are really good on the pitch and in the dressing room,” he said.
“Rooney is not so much of a leader in the dressing room as he is on the pitch. But for this game, we only need a leader on the pitch because we are missing so many players.”