Bent vows to keep scoring to convince Capello

LONDON - Sunderland striker Darren Bent scored twice against Tottenham Hotspur to take his goal tally to 23 this season but he has no illusions about his chances of winning an England place for the World Cup finals.

Bent missed out on a place in the squad for the 2006 World Cup finals but his good form will have been noted by England coach Fabio Capello.

Bent had an afternoon to remember against his former club on Saturday as Sunderland ended Spurs's five-match winning Premier League run with a 3-1 victory.

He opened the scoring with the season's fastest Premier League goal after 36 seconds, made it 2-0 from the penalty spot 20 minutes later then saw his former team-mate Heurelho Gomes save his next two penalties.

Only Wayne Rooney of Manchester United (26 goals) and Didier Drogba (25) have scored more times in the league than Bent this season.

Although he has scored more than England's other World Cup striker hopefuls - Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch, Emile Heskey and Carlton Cole - the 24-year-old Bent is keeping an open mind about his chances of being selected when Capello names his 23-man squad at the beginning of June.

He remembers all too well the disappointment of missing out in 2006 when then-manager Sven-Goran Eriksson left him behind.

"I'd had a good season and all the way through I was thinking to myself 'I can't be that far away, don't worry about it.' When the phone-call came, it was like 'whoah, I'm not going to the World Cup'" he told reporters after Saturday's match.

"I've dealt with it before, if I don't go again, I'll just kick on again. I can't be that far. If I am then I'll have to hold my hands up and say 'I wasn't quite good enough'"


Bent, a prolific scorer at Ipswich Town and Charlton Athletic, did not enjoy quite the same success at Spurs.

He scored 25 goals in 79 games there in two seasons, but never fully justified the club's record fee of 16.5 million pounds they handed to Charlton for him in 2007.

However, he has not looked back since joining Sunderland in the close season where he scored eight times in his first nine appearances.

Bent has played five times for England, making one appearance in each of the last five seasons, and although he got his first start against Brazil last November, he has yet to score.

With Rooney, Defoe, Heskey and Crouch all likely to be ahead of him when the plane tickets are handed out, Bent can only keep scoring goals and hope to make up for the disappointment of four years ago.

"Even though I have scored so many goals, there don't seem to be too many people saying I am going. But I'll keep trying to deliver. Hopefully that will be good enough," he said.

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