Tottenham Hotspur striker Darren Bent has issued an ultimatum to manager Harry Redknapp, warning he will leave White Hart Lane if he is not handed more first-team football. The England international has netted 14 times so far this season, but has struggled to hold down a regular place in the starting-line up – and has fallen further down the pecking order following the return of strikers Jermain Defoe and Robbie Keane. Bent, who also found himself omitted from the England squad that faced Spain in midweek, fears for his future career and is tired of sitting on the sidelines. “I’ve spoken to the manager a couple of times about my position but I can only hear the same thing so many times,” the former Charlton and Ipswich front-man told The Sun. “I’m not one of those players who will just sit back and let his career pass him by. But I’m only 25 and there is so much more to come from me as a player. I’m not the finished article and I will get better.” And Bent, signed by Martin Jol for £16 million in 2007, intends to seek first-team action elsewhere if things have not altered by the summer. “I’d like to think that improvement will be with Tottenham,” he said. “But if nothing is happening for me by the end of the season then I will look to go elsewhere. “I need to play more games. I want to play football. I don’t want another season where I’m in and out of the team all the time.” Only Steven Gerrard and Nicolas Anelka have scored more goals than him this term, but the Tottenham striker’s opportunities have been severely limited by the constant upheaval at the club, followed by the arrivals of Defoe and Keane. “The constant change has definitely made things more difficult,” Bent said. “I’ve played with Dimitar Berbatov, Robbie Keane, Jermain Defoe, Giovani Dos Santos, Fraizer Campbell and Roman Pavlyuchenko and not really had time to develop an understanding with any of them. “Last year, we sold three of our strikers and now most of them are back at the club – which is strange. I really thought this season was going to be my big chance. Pre-season went really well for me and I felt so sharp. But, for whatever reasons, I just haven’t played as much as I’d hoped.” Bent, who has played under three different managers since his move from The Valley, is spirited by the club’s recent upturn in form as they look to drag themselves further away from the wrong end of the table. “There’s no doubt we’ve got the quality," he said. "We’re just far too inconsistent. At times we’ve been brilliant but at other times we’ve been really poor. “The signs are there that we’re slowly starting to turn it around but we really need to kick on from here. We’ve got a massive couple of months coming up and if a few results go against us we’ll be back in the bottom three.” Bent is adamant that he can prove he is more than worthy of a starting place in the side – given the opportunity – which he will get in the UEFA Cup when Tottenham travel to Donetsk next Thursday. “Jermain is injured and Robbie and Pav are ineligible. So next week’s game in Donetsk is definitely a chance for me. “I have never lost faith in my ability and I know for a fact that I can do well at the highest level. I’ve already proved that. But you get frustrated when you’re not playing regularly. “All I can do is keep working as hard as possible and grab every opportunity I get. Because any manager in the world will like you if you put the ball in the net.”
13 February 2009
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