Bent is Charlton's player of the year

FORMER Ipswich Town striker Darren Bent has been voted Charlton's Player of the Year but, despite an incredible season, is philosophical about his World Cup chances.

By Derek Davis

FORMER Ipswich Town striker Darren Bent has been voted Charlton's Player of the Year but, despite an incredible season, is philosophical about his World Cup chances.

Bent banged in 22 goals in his first season with the Addicks, 18 in the Premiership, with only Thierry Henry and Ruud van Nistelrooy more prolific.

The 22-year-old's chances of figuring in Germany have been improved by Wayne Rooney's broken foot, although Sven-Goran Eriksson has indicated he will still take the Manchester United striker in a hope that he will be fit for the later stages.


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While the nation debates who will be named in the 26-man interim squad next Monday, Bent is being typically laid-back about the whole thing.

He said: “I would not say it is nerve-wracking waiting.

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“If any other striker had scored as many as I have, they'd probably be thinking they were comfortable.

“But me being me - and I've not been in the Premiership long enough - so if I get picked, I get picked, but it is out of my hands.

“People will not be able to say I have not gone because I have not scored enough goals.

“I have given myself the best possible opportunity so, if I do not go, then good luck to whoever does.”

Ipswich Town will benefit by £400,000 when Bent plays his first two competitive matches for his country - friendlies don't count.

He joined Charlton from Portman Road last summer, when Town failed to get promoted, and his initial £2.5m move has already been bolstered by £100,000 for appearances made.

Bent insisted the World Cup was a distant thought when he arrived at The Valley, although nine months later he had won his first cap against Uruguay.

Bent said: “When I signed, I knew it was World Cup year.

“I thought to myself there were a lot of players already established in the England squad, such as Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney, Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch.

“What I wanted to do when I first arrived was establish myself in the Charlton team - I did not really have any England plans.

“To me, it was all about being one of the first-choice strikers at Charlton. It is only when the games against Poland and Austria came around, and I was still involved, that I really started thinking I had a chance if I kept going.”

After winning the EADT/Powergen Player of the Year award last season, Bent was crowned the Addicks' player of the year at their annual awards.

Bent said: “This has been the best season of my career. To get two goals on my debut, and then get called up by England, was amazing.

“But, even up to now, I have not really been able to sit down and think about how the season has gone, as the games have been coming thick and fast.

“Perhaps that has helped me, as I have been able to go out and play so many games, focus and keep going right to the very end. Then, obviously there is the summer.”

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