bent on suc­cess

Dar­ren Bent backs him­self to win his way into Fabio Capello’s think­ing.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MOVIES - by PAUl Wil­SON

Dar­ren Bent backs him­self to win his way into Fabio Capello’s think­ing.

Noth­ing seems to faze Dar­ren Bent. not be­ing left out of the past two World Cup squads, not hav­ing to move to Sun­der­land to get reg­u­lar foot­ball, not even harry Red­knapp moan­ing that his mis­sus would have done bet­ter with a chance against Portsmouth. the 26-year-old striker was asked to play up front on his own against Manch­ester United’s Rio Fer­di­nand and ne­manja Vidic last Satur­day and said he en­joyed it, and did not so much as raise an eye­brow of com­plaint when Steve Bruce re­marked af­ter­wards that Sun­der­land “rely too much on Benty at times”.

“i’ve al­ways been easy­go­ing,” he says. “i’m too old to change my men­tal­ity now. You don’t get ev­ery­thing your own way when you are a pro­fes­sional foot­baller, and nei­ther should you ex­pect to. the game is all about deal­ing with chal­lenges and that is what i try to do. You work so hard when you are young just to get to be a foot­baller, so when you make it you shouldn’t com­plain. i feel lucky ev­ery day be­cause i en­joy what i do. Even when things aren’t go­ing as well as they might be it is still an hon­our and a priv­i­lege to play foot­ball for a liv­ing.”

Equable as Bent might be, he would have had to be su­per­hu­man not to feel fed-up at hav­ing to watch last sum­mer’s World Cup on tele­vi­sion while on hol­i­day af­ter scor­ing 25 goals in 40 games in his first sea­son for Sun­der­land. Es­pe­cially as Eng­land’s se­lected strik­ers proved no more po­tent than they had four years ago in ger­many, where even the untested theo Wal­cott got the nod ahead of Bent.

“ob­vi­ously it was re­ally dis­ap­point­ing this sum­mer, though i am sure it was even more dis­ap­point­ing for the guys who were ac­tu­ally out there play­ing,” he says. “For me per­son­ally it was more a sense of frus­tra­tion,tra­tion, but you ei­ther get the chance to play or you don’t, and if the chance doesn’t come along there’s not much you can do about it. Just as with goalscor­ing chances, you have to put the misses be­hind you and be ready for the next one. the World Cup is the biggest foot­ball tour­na­ment on the planet, all the best play­ers are there and you want to be there too, es­pe­cially when you have worked so hard to try and make it. Missing out was hard, but it’s all part and par­cel of a foot­baller’s life. You ac­cept it and move on, and now it’s nice to be back in the squad again. Rep­re­sent­ing your coun­try is the best thing about be­ing a foot­baller.”

Bent has been in a post-World Cup Eng­land squad al­ready, and scored his first goal for Eng­land in the last qual­i­fier, in Switzer­land, so did Fabio Capello act any dif­fer­ently in wel­com­ing him back? Does the ital­ian do sheep­ish?

“he was ex­actly the same af­ter the World Cup as he had been be­fore,” Bent says. “i wouldn’t have ex­pected him to treat me any dif­fer­ently. he had a de­ci­sion to make and he made it. that’s his job. Mine is to put it be­hind me and get on with the next game. You move on. that’s what i’ve done and that’s what he’s done. i’m look­ing for­ward to join­ing up again, and hope­fully i’ll get a piece of the game.

“nat­u­rally i’d love to start, but it’s not for me to guess what Mr Capello is go­ing to do. he has his own ideas, so who knows? he can sur­prise peo­ple. Know­ing what i know al­ready about the way the Eng­land man­ager works, my im­me­di­ate goal is not start­ing the game but show­ing up well in train­ing, be­cause that is what he looks for.”

With Jer­main De­foe in­jured, there is the prospect of a first com­pet­i­tive start for Eng­land against Mon­tene­gro at Wem­b­ley next tues­day. Whether on his own, or used along­side Wayne Rooney or Peter Crouch, Bent is con­fi­dent he can fit in with what­ever the sys­tem asks of him. “i’ve been in the game quite a long time now, i think i can han­dle most things i’m asked to do,” he says. “i just want a chance to play. the next World Cup is too far ahead to have as a tar­get, so i’m look­ing to ce­ment my place in the Eng­land set-up, maybe get a few more goals, and gen­er­ally give my­self the chance of reach­ing the Eu­ros (in 2012).”

that phi­los­o­phy has served Bent well at club level. not ev­ery­one would jump at the chance to leave London for Sun­der­land, and Crouch ef­fec­tively set­tled for a squad role at Spurs rather than mak­ing a move to Sun­der­land, but Bent took the view that as a goalscorer it is vi­tal to be on the pitch rather than the bench.

“As soon as Sun­der­land came in for me i knew i wanted to go,” he says. “they are a mas­sive club with a pas­sion­ate fol­low­ing and they were promis­ing reg­u­lar foot­ball. i didn’t have too much to think about. You can only get picked for your coun­try if you are play­ing week in, week out, and play­ing well.” – guardian news & Me­dia 2010

Hard worker: Like all strik­ers, Dar­ren Bent has con­fi­dence in his own abil­ity, but does not mind do­ing the don­key work that the Eng­land sys­tem re­quires.

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