Monday, February 27, 2006

Good Luck, Darren

After making five of the last six England squads without winning a cap, Darren Bent will be hoping that lucky call up number 7 will see him make his first appearance for the national side on Wednesday night at Anfield versus Uruguay.

Sven watched 80 minutes of the Villa match at the weekend (bet he's gutted), and although he didn't see one of Darren's best performances, he will have noticed him get into two or three terrific goalscoring positions in the first half, and must have been impressed with his low drive on the half hour mark that was thwarted only by a superb Sorensen save.
Sven has watched enough of our games this year to know what Darren is capable of, and he obviously wants to get a closer look at the lad because of his appearance in the last few England squads, yet he is running out of games in which he can test how Darren would function in a side where he gets some top quality service from those around him.

In the paper today, (I cant remember which one it was), Curbishley said, "Surely this friendly on Wednesday is about looking at fringe players. Darren wont freeze at that level because he has been through the ranks with England and if he is presented with a chance then he will take it".
Surely that chance will come this time around. Owen is out with a long term injury, Ferguson wont be happy if Rooney plays a full 90, Crouch is just rubbish, and as for Defoe, well, I just don't think Sven rates him.

I'm confident that this time around Darren will get his opportunity, and he is certainly ready for it:

"Hopefully Wednesday will be the chance I need to show what I can do because I've done quite well for Charlton and feel I deserve to be there. I'm looking forward to the Uruguay match and I am definitely hoping to go to Germany.
There are so many other strikers in England capable of doing a job, but if I keep doing well hopefully Sven won't be able to ignore me. I definitely feel more comfortable than when I went away with England for the first time at the start of the season, which was quite nerve-wracking.
I take it all in my stride now, but I am sure there will be a few butterflies before kick-off. I've had loads of people asking me for tickets. There are about 20 friends and family going up to Anfield and if I do well, it will make them all very proud and happy. But I know I still have to keep doing well for Charlton to be successful."

From a couple of sentences in that article and the way in which he is talking about the game, I think that Sven may have already told him that he will be getting a run out at some point. He will certainly have the backing of most football fans. After all, he is the still the top scoring English striker in the Premiership this season with 13 goals. Thats 3 ahead of Wayne Rooney, and 5 ahead of Jermain Defoe.

His place on the plane to the World Cup will depend mainly on his form over the last 11 games, and partly on whether Sven plans to take 4 or 5 strikers to Germany.
Assuming fitness for all players, Owen and Rooney will be the first choice pairing. Crouch will get a spot because of the "plan B, " and the "give the opposition defence something different to worry about" media chestnuts; and that will leave probably one space for either Darren or Defoe to fill. There is a chance that he will take both, but either way the door is truly ajar for Darren at the moment. A good performance or two in the warm up matches, and I reckon that'll be him on the plane.

Of course, if he does play on Wednesday night we will owe Ipswich another £350,000, but Charlton will be willing to pay it. Bent has been the ray of light for us this season, and he deserves to get his reward. I only hope that if things don't go right for him, that he will react to the setback in the correct way.
Murphy went to pieces when he failed to make the England squad after all of the tabloid talk to the contrary, and while I think that Bent is made of sterner and more professional stuff than Danny, you can never forecast with total certainty how a player will react to bad news.

It will be one thing if he doesn't make the England grade, but another thing entirely if he takes the attitude that he will never be able to fulfill his ambitions while playing for our club. Lets all pray that if he does plays on Wednesday, he plays well.

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