Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Bent still guessing his fate?

The headline on the BBCsport website screams "Bent poised to make England debut", and the article says "Eriksson will decide his starting line-up after training on Tuesday, but revealed Bent would play some part", however in true journalistic style, there is not one quote from the Swede in order to support the story.

The rest of the article just ignores Darren completely, and goes on to talk about Gerrard instead! Perhaps there is a quote out there somewhere that proves the headline, but I have taxed all of my usual resource sites and not found one so it looks as though Darren, just like the rest of us, will have to wait until the actual match to find out whether or not he is going to get his chance.

Sven's usual ploy is to play his strongest XI in the first half and then give fringe players a chance in the second half. My money is on Darren playing the last half hour alongside Crouch. As for the final score, I'm going for 3-1 to England; and if Bent gets on the pitch, I honestly back him to score.

With regards to the World Cup, I wrote yesterday about the possibility of Sven taking five strikers to Germany (thus virtually guaranteeing Darren a seat on the plane), rather than four (which will leave a face off between Bent and Defoe). Unfortunately I discovered an article today which seems to show that Sven is more likely to take the latter option. Here he talks about Rooney, Owen, and Crouch already being pencilled in, and then says "its up to the players to show who is going to be the fourth striker".

In other news today, Smertin has been linked to an unnamed Russian side once his loan spell with us is completed. His agent has confirmed that there has been an approach, and in the twilight of his career, I wouldn't be surprised if the Russian decides to return home.
Smertin is a player who has done ok for us this term in my opinion. He's no superstar, but I would always prefer to see him in the side than Holland; at least he can drive forwards with the ball.

I believe that Chelsea would have been willing to let him go on a free in the summer if no interest was shown from elsewhere, and I wouldn't have minded keeping him if that was the case, but now that another club has entered the fray it looks more likely that there will be a small fee involved if we do want to secure his continued services. Wages are fine, but I don't think he is worth a transfer fee at his age. I'd rather see us save the money and spend bigger on another midfielder. World Cups always herald the coming of new players into the Premiership, and I'm sure that Curbishley will be there with his notebook looking for a midfield general to snap up this summer.

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