Darren Bent must go to the World Cup – Yes or no?

by Claire Tully

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

I never really had much of a chance to play football when I was in school.

This was partly because I sucked but mainly due to the fact the team was made up of the kind of girls you know secretly have a scrotum and ate little things like me for breakfast. And OK fair enough, when it came to picking a team that would simply bulldoze its way across the pitch and scare the shite out of the other keeper, Team Armpit Hair did it well enough without me.

Anyway, I was (and still am) much better at watching football.

Darren Bent on the other hand, isn’t just good at playing football and scoring goals. He’s only a few goals short of achieving official messiah status on Wearside – his striking ability almost singlehandedly keeping the club afloat this season.

He is currently the second highest English goal scorer in the Premier League, second only to Rooney and in the past 3 games he has managed a hat trick and done the double. Admittedly he may not be in the same class but the only other person I can think of banging out a hat trick recently is Messi.

In addition to this he has scored a total of 69 goals in a 3 year time frame – a record only beaten in the Top Flight by Ronaldo and Rooney. Even his shots to goals ration is bettered only by Torres which is pretty impressive considering the lack of opportunities created for him at Sunderland.

It begs the question, how many goals would Rooney have now if it wasn’t for Nani, Giggs and Valencia setting him up?

But it feels like I can sit here and bang out the facts till I’m blue in the face because even if Benty was scoring goals blindfolded and backwards from the other end of the pitch aul Fabs  probably wouldn’t even bother to look up from his paper.

I’m sure if he were to ask Andy Reid what he should do to change his Italian Gaffers opinion he’d likely tell him to build a wall and get over it – himself as likely to play again for Ireland under el Trappo as me.

But when it comes to choosing his team, the fact Darren Bent has scored more goals than Heskey and Cole put together seems to be irrelevant.

So if anyone has anyone spotted Fabio out with Domenech and choosing the squad on advice from Mystic Meg, please report to the FA.

Interestingly Bent isn’t the first striker from the North East to be strangely overlooked when it comes to international competition.

Kevin Phillips was the only English player to ever win the European Golden Shoe after scoring 30 goals for his club in the 1999-2000 season but he was never given a full 90 minutes for his country and never scored in his 8 caps.

Bent may not play for a top four side but he has scored against them all so far this season and I wonder if he played for any of them would we even be having this discussion?

There is always the argument that a goal scorer needs to be able to contribute so much more to be selected for International games.

But wasn’t Linekar “just a goalscorer?”

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  • Stevie

    there’s no denying Bent has had a superb season, as you rightly point out his chances to goal ratio is only bettered by Torres.

    But, it looks like Capello doesnt like him, he doesnt like Ashley Young for some reason too. We have 1 more game left before he names his squad, what if Bent plays and plays crap? There’s no way he’ll go. It’s a bit of a catch 22 for the poor lad

  • dexylongshot

    I feel a bit sorry for him, he only ever gets a few minutes in an England top and the times he has had a half, he has had useless service (How many h’s in that sentence!). I look at the stats quite a bit and when you see his goals per minute ratios and shots on target, he’s top notch, he’d be 30 goal a season player if he got the sort of service Rooney & Drogba got. I’m all for playing the form players so if i was picking the squad today, he would be in it. Where’s the chef??

  • Bertie

    Strong competition could see him ruled out butif it is on current form and the stats are correct there is no doubt he should go. However we will soon see if Ab Fab, (7 minute abs to be launched in conjunction with squad announcement), will become yet another coach to promise ‘inform players’ and then resort back to the safe bet to avoid a backlash in the press.
    If inform players are the order of the day then a few of the old guard can book there place in front of the box for the weeks of pain and dissappointment that await!!

  • Dave

    If Bent was scoring goals in the Europa or Champions League then I think he would be making the squad.

    Lets be honest the defending in EUropean games is alot better then alot of Premiership teams.

  • Ryan

    Cracking goals out off him but wud u put him ahead off Rooney or Defoe not really he should go but he wud be used as a sub Heaney shud nit even be considered.for it as ge us crap only thing Is wat u said bout Rooney scoring from nani it giggs or Valencia that’s rubbish every striker gets d ball in from the wingers gets so ya can’t really say dat darren dosent either every good striker needs d balls in from wide Madrid, barca, Chelsea they have class wingers so dats not really a valid point

  • http://www.iangox.blogspot.com Ian Gaughran

    You make a number of valid points, and if Capello stuck to his word…ie in-form players are in…then a certain Mr Terry probably wouldn’t go to SA. But the fact remains that while Sunderland struggled Bent struggled. Granted, the service is pants, and he is easily their most dangerous front player but as yet he is unproven on the European and World stage-I don’t recall him setting the world alight for Spurs in Europe but I could be wrong.
    Either way, his goals entitle him to at least be in the squad.
    But you’ve got to ask yourself-if u were chasing a game in the WC knockout stages, would you bring Bent in and be confident he’d get you a winner or equaliser…for some reason I wouldn’t. I don’t even know why, I just wouldn’t.

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    great point Dave, scoring goals against Bolton is a bit different from scoring goals against top Italian, Spanish & Brazilan defenders!

    Don’t get me wrong, I like Darren Bent, to score 20+ goals in a mid table side is an astonishing achievement, however, I feel it’s a bit to late to give him a try. Saying that, for the sake of leaving out someone really pointless like a Jenas and taking Bent instead would be a better option in my opinion!

    Good article by the way Claire, well researched.

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    If we are talking about in form players then half the England team wouldn’t get in the squad!

  • Dave

    Your right Darren , Heskey will be in the squad but has been poor this season. I personaly would go for Kevin Davies as the battering ram style striker.

    Bent has had a great season but only against mediocre defences.

    Where as Bobby Zamora has been playing well against some decent European defences so there is an argument for him to be included……

  • Paul

    Kevin Davies? Are you having one? He scores less goals than Heskey. Heskey is very important to England as he does all the donkey work, it is after all a team effort.

    Where as Zamora has been in excellent form, chasing down defenders etc…. Its a touch one this


    Only one of those can go really

  • chef

    wee tully has taken like a fish to water with this footie writing lark…….
    another solid article from the wee green mackem
    and this one is right up my street………….
    im not even gonna ger into the stats
    all i,ll say is benty has worked his socks off
    he is on fire and has carried safc on his back all year
    and for fab to leave him off the plane would be insanity
    no ifs or fuckin buts
    he has to go its as simple as that
    it would be an insult to every english supporter if he doesnt get the nod
    the lad is producing..and is the hot ticket right now………
    and if capello doesnt buy him one
    hes naffin mad

  • Andy

    Personally I would be confident that Bent could change a game. He’s no one trick pony, he’s scored consistently throughout his career, and to be fair he has to chase most of the balls in the box as the service isn’t as consistent as the higher teams in the Prem. As for scoring against mediocre defences…. Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool? No one can handle his danger and that is why he must go to the WC. How can he prove himself on the World stage if he doesn’t have a chance? It’s like Kevin Phillips all over again! Great article by the way Tull’s

  • Dave

    Its a tough call really but I do believe Heskey is injured……again.

    I know Fabio likes him and I admit I like England with Heskey in the team but its the injuries that worry me.

    If Bent can carry his form into the national side then we would have a decent weapon in our bid for the World Cup.

  • Pablo

    I think that Bent is a quality striker and should be given a chance with England. I don’t think that this chance is going to come before the World Cup though and therefore don’t think he’ll go. He’s the same type of striker as Rooney and Defoe and I think he’s behind them in the pecking order. Capello will want to take two big Centre Forwards so it doesn’t look good for him. He should feel begrudged if soemone like Agbonlahor goes ahead of him…

    As for Kevin Davies, I agree with Paul. I’ve rated him for a long time as the tough man up front who can win headers, hold the ball up and rough up a defender to put him off. Again though, he won’t get his chance before the World Cup and therefore won’t go. I think he’s better at this job than Heskey and far more reliable than Carlton Cole.

    But it’s Capello’s decision, who knows what he’ll do… He should play 5 in midfield with Rooney as a lone striker in my humble opinion…

  • chef

    ive read all of the comments above………..

    and all i can say is


    he has to go………simple as that

  • dexylongshot

    Conscious lyrics chef!

    He might have a shout now, especially if the Rooney injury is bad. Carlton is still not fit, Defoes out for a month & Bobby Z is being overlooked

  • chef

    must admit when i saw him roll that ankle my nutsack shrank….
    and i wish the lad all the best
    ankles are afucker and if its just sprained
    hes lucky
    but im not convinced yet and dont know why they havent given a definite result …
    i did mine in afew years back and they were fairly sharpish in telling me it was completly cream crackerd……
    …and im not really very special atall and then some
    so makes me wonder if theres more to it……..
    anyway me fingers are crossed that its just a sprain like they say……

  • chef

    and well done the arse today….
    for a while thier i thought it was going to be wiped thoroughly clean…..
    tuff task ahead
    but for barca to play that well and not win
    shows a frailty to me…………
    and is it just me or does that big fuckin swedish meatball
    the one with the enormous mexi cali rose
    get on every feckers nerves…
    i dont rate him as one of the top strikers in the world …..
    ..anyway it was acrackin fuckin match……..really enjoyed it……..

  • Mike Somerville

    Ohhhhhhhhhhhh Bobby Zamora!

    Says it all 🙂

  • colin

    Good shout, I`d rather take him than Cole or Heskey. What is it with Heskey, I just don`t buy into this `he does so much for the team` rubbish. I think we will be taking a step backwards if we play him. It has to be Rooney and Crouch or Defoe up top for me, probably Defoe.

  • Mike Somerville

    Take Owen and Zamora, leave Bent

  • CHEF

    lads……….for fucks sakes u take the hot commodity
    this is not just for club
    its supposed to be for the country aswell.
    bentys got the eye for goal right now………
    and it would be madness to leave him……..
    and mike last i heard ……owen was cream crackerd for the season mate.!!

  • Stephen Trenery

    If Fabio is still in charge of England in 10 years time he would still have the same squad of players, the only difference is the zimmerframes would have to be taken off them when they get on the pitch!

    He knows who is likes, he plays the same 13/14 players, even in friendlies which is a waste.

    Spain have a whole squad of talent to choose from, we have a bare 11 of international quality players, but we only know this because we dont give the other players a chance!

    I’d take Bent, just on form alone.

    4 strikers to the World Cup shoud be: Rooney, Defoe, Crouch and Bent.

  • chef

    congrats benty lad…………..
    your almost there

  • Amz

    For those who say that Bent scored against smaller teams or poor defence. Will they consider the big 4 EPL teams as poor teams with poor defence?
    The fact is Bent is a better striker than any of the other English strikers except Rooney. Defoe he may be good but he isn’t as good as Bent. He scores sporadically while Bent is consitent and has been able to maintain his consistency in the last three years which is simply superb. APart from Rooney and Bent other strikers lack the finishing touch and god forbid if rooney is injured then Bent will be the only option for ENgland. I hope he is on the plane to SA or else I less confident of ENgland winning this WC

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