Bent: Club form key to World Cup chances

Darren Bent believes if he can keep scoring goals for Sunderland his lacklustre performance for England against Brazil will not harm his chances of booking a place in Fabio Capello’s World Cup squad.

Bent made his long-awaited return to the international stage in Doha on Saturday, having failed to feature for the Three Lions since August 2006.

However, the Black Cats' leading scorer was starved of service and failed to make an impact against the five-time World Cup winners.

Bent’s former Spurs team-mate Jermain Defoe replaced him early in the second-half, leaving the 25-year-old to contemplate on a missed opportunity to impress the England boss prior to next summer’s global showpiece.

But Bent, who has been in scintillating form for the Wearsiders so far this season, says he remains confident that his club displays could hold the key to his chances of being on the plane to South Africa in June.

“You are not going to be judged on one game and there are so many Premier League games between now and the end of the season,” he said.

“The main thing is to take the positives from this game, keep my Sunderland form going and, if I keep doing that, I know I’ll be there or thereabouts for selection.

“Sunderland is more important than anything at the moment. If I am not doing a job there I am not going to get a chance for England. I will go back there, keep working hard and see what happens.”

Bent – the leading English scorer in the Premier League with eight goals – won only his fourth cap on Saturday.

And the Black Cats' striker admitted he was surprised to be given a start as an under-strength England side were narrowly beaten by one of the pre-tournament favourites for next summer’s World Cup.

“Every game I play is like a learning curve and Brazil are a top side and made it difficult for us. The main thing is for us to learn from it,” he added.

“I was surprised to get the start. It has been a while, nearly four years, something like that. I was delighted the manager gave me the chance.

“There are not many internationals left before the World Cup. That is why this game was so vital, especially for me. There are so many strikers battling for a spot.

“I must have a chance. The main thing is to keep my head down and keep scoring goals for Sunderland.”