Darren Bent played for Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa, Sunderland, Derby County, Charlton, Fulham, Brighton, Ipswich and Burton Albion. But one thing connected each team: his ability to score goals.
The former England international had some stellar teammates along the way, too. A staple of the Premier League in the noughties, Bent is a member of the 100-club with 106 goals in the top flight.
We sat down to ask the former forward who would he would pick in his Perfect XI – and he certainly didn't disappoint with the names he provided…
Darren Bent's Perfect XI – Goalkeeper: Scott Carson
“He spent 2006/07 with me at Charlton, and that was the best single-season goalkeeping display I’ve ever seen. We were relegated in the end, but probably would have gone down in January were it not for Scott. It’s a crying shame that people only remember that one game for England against Croatia.”
Right-back: Glen Johnson
“I’ve known Glen since we were 14 years old. We won the Victory Shield together and went through the England age-group teams up to the under-21s, then into the seniors. He was a scorer of great goals and a top defender.”
Centre-back: Ledley King
“If he wasn’t so injury-prone, he’d have been playing for Barcelona or Real Madrid. Ledley never used to train during the week and just played in the games. He only had one knee – the other was completely shattered, bone on bone. An unbelievable player and ripped, too, even though he didn’t go to the gym.”
Centre-back: Rio Ferdinand
“Arguably England’s greatest centre-half of all time. A very modern defender – he could play, he could pass, he was quick and he was a brilliant talker. The better the defender, the more they talk, and Rio did it throughout the game. He was a leader.”
Left-back: Ashley Cole
“Easily the best left-back I ever played with. Ashley set me up for my first England goal as well, so he needs a special mention for that! He could do everything: creating chances, bombing down the line, and he was almost unbeatable one-on-one. Probably the perfect full-back.”
Right-midfield: Darren Ambrose
“He was my favourite team-mate during my youth and first-team days at Ipswich. Every time Darren received the ball, he found me. He helped me massively and made my job a lot easier, because he knew exactly where I was going to be and I knew exactly where he’d put the ball. He could score wonder goals for fun as well. Look at his archive of goals, it’s outrageous.”
Centre-midfield: Steven Gerrard
“An absolute animal. I saw him in training for England and said to myself, ‘My standards in training need to be a lot better’. He’d always go out there at 100 miles an hour. He wanted to win everything – a shooting competition, a five-a-side game, you name it. The way he went about things was a lesson for all of us.”
Centre-midfield: Luka Modric
“He’s the best club player I ever played with. Although it took him a little while to find his feet at Spurs, we knew from training that he was far too good for us. He was on a different level. Luka would never use his left foot, just the outside of his right.”
Left-midfield: Ashley Young
“When I joined Villa he was superb. He could score goals, was a great crosser, could sprint past people, and also drew a free-kick better than any other winger I ever played with. His distribution was top drawer, too.”
Centre-forward: Dimitar Berbatov
“I didn’t get to play alongside him that much at Spurs or Fulham, but he was a Rolls Royce footballer. His touch – and everything about the way he played – was so smooth. Dimitar did look lethargic sometimes, but he always had two or three yards of space whenever he got the ball.”
Centre-forward: Wayne Rooney
“An England great. He could score goals and create goals, and it’s a testament to his ability that he’s still playing at a high level but doing it in a completely different role. At his absolute best, he was unstoppable.”
Manager: George Burley
“Ideally I’d have two, to include Alan Curbishley as well. George gave me my debut and believed in me at Ipswich. Alan was the same at Charlton when he brought me into the Premier League.”
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