Darren’s hell-Bent on England number nine shirt

NAT Lofthouse, Bobby Charlton, Alan Shearer. Darren Bent wants to add his own name to the illustrious list of England number nines after finally winning over Fabio Capello and the England faithful.

The former Ipswich Town frontman was given the nod to wear the coveted jersey ahead of Andy Carroll and Jermain Defoe and responded with England’s second goal in Saturday’s comfortable 2-0 win in Wales.

Having been on the periphery of the international squad for so long, the 27-year-old admitted he is finally starting to feel comfortable within the Three Lions set-up.

Bent said: “I’d love to be the number nine for as long as possible but there are a lot of top strikers about. If Fabio keeps picking me, hopefully I’ll keep producing the goods. It’s always hard when you’ve had 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there but when you get a run in the side, you take great confidence from that.”

The Aston Villa striker couldn’t have missed his big moment, a 14th minute tap-in after team mate Ashley Young had put it on a plate.

You may also want to watch:

But following Frank Lampard’s early penalty, it helped cement England’s superiority and keep them well track for Euro 2012 qualification.

Bent said: “Scoring at this level gives me a lot of confidence. International football is a step up from the Premier League and to show you can score goals at international level has always been the hardest thing.

Most Read

“To be fair, for me the most difficult one was getting the first one but hopefully now, if I can stay in the side and keep playing well, there will be many more goals for me. I feel as if I belong at this level, definitely. I always believed in that even when at first the goals weren’t going in.

“I always believed that I was good enough to score goals at this level and hopefully it is showing now.”

While Bent’s finish was typical of the marksman, the rapid rise of Young from squad member to certain starter has been significant in recent England matches.

After watching his much-touted team mate set up both goals at the Millennium Stadium, Bent said: “Ashley has been playing really, really well this season and being linked to top, top sides. It’s because of the form he is showing like against Wales that all these clubs are after him.

“He was fantastic and it helps me that he is also in the Villa side. The main thing is we can keep going, hang onto him for as long as possible and keep creating the chances for Villa and scoring goals.”

England play Ghana tomorrow night but John Terry, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, Michael Dawson, Wayne Rooney and Kyle Walker have been allowed to return to their respective clubs and won’t play a part in the friendly.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter