Bent recalls great moment

IPSWICH Town striker Darren Bent yesterday recalled the goal that could spark a scramble among Premiership clubs for his signature.The 19-year-old hot-shot netted a late winner for England against Serbia & Montenegro in Monday night's Under-21 international at Hull.

IPSWICH Town striker Darren Bent yesterday recalled the goal that could spark a scramble among Premiership clubs for his signature.

The 19-year-old hot-shot netted a late winner for England against Serbia & Montenegro in Monday night's Under-21 international at Hull.

Bent, already wanted by Southampton in a £3 million double deal involving fellow teenager Matt Richards, was an 82nd-minute substitute for Arsenal star Jermaine Pennant.

Just five minutes later he pounced to head the winning goal and seal a hard-earned 3-2 victory – and increase the growing interest among top-flight clubs hoping to snap him up before next season starts.

Bent said: "I looked at the clock and it said 80 minutes had been played, so I was beginning to think I wasn't going to get on.

"I actually started to relax and had resigned myself to not getting on, when the gaffer (David Platt) told me to warm up. It was obvious that Jermaine was struggling and he limped off. The gaffer just told me to work hard and enjoy what was left of the game, so to be in the right place to score the winning goal was a tremendous feeling. I really enjoyed that moment!

Most Read

"Carlton Cole did really well to knock the ball across to me and I just guided my header back across the keeper and inside the far post. Every goal is a good goal, but I was really pleased with that one."

It may have been his first goal, in only his second appearance, at Under-21 level, but scoring for his country is by no means a new experience for the player.

He has represented England at various age groups and even boasted a goal-a-game ratio in his three appearances for the Under-19 side.

Now Bent has pushed his claims for a place in the starting line-up when England Under-21s face Slovakia in a European Championship qualifier at Sunderland in a week's time.

He will rejoin his colleagues in the North East tomorrow evening, by which time he should have a clearer picture of where his immediate future lies after a visit to London to see his agent yesterday.

Bent added: "I am going to London to see my agent and have a chat about what direction I'm going in. It's just a general chat, not to discuss a specific move or anything like that."

Agent Jonathan Barnett last week advised Bent against a move to Newcastle, offering the view that he would not play regularly enough, and he may feel the same about Southampton's interest in his client.

Bent said: "I am happy at Ipswich and I would be happy to stay, but I am not cancelling any options at this stage. I am just waiting to see how things develop."

He enjoyed meeting up with best pal and former Portman Road colleague Darren Ambrose, now a Newcastle player, at Hull.

But he laughed: "Darren wasn't able to say much. He was really struggling to talk after he got a whack on his cheekbone. It was very painful and he had an X-ray.

"He wasn't too chatty anyway, because he lost the ball for Serbia & Montenegro's second goal. He was a bit down about that."

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