Darren can prove doubters wrong

NOT all Spurs fans are entirely enamoured by their new recruit Darren Bent but they are in for a pleasant surprise.I have reported on Darren Bent through his progress from Ipswich Town youth team player to England international and the one thing that he has shown at every level apart from full international level so far, is that he can handle the step up, has met the challenge each time and done what he does best - score goals.

By Derek Davis

NOT all Spurs fans are entirely enamoured by their new recruit Darren Bent but they are in for a pleasant surprise.

I have reported on Darren Bent through his progress from Ipswich Town youth team player to England international and the one thing that he has shown at every level apart from full international level so far, is that he can handle the step up, has met the challenge each time and done what he does best - score goals.

Spurs supporters argue that Bent is not worth the £16m that the club has paid Charlton, around than Barcelona paid for Thierry Henry.


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They don't believe Bent is particularly better than Jermain Defoe, who is a year older and has more international experience, and some believe Bent will not be a regular first team starter with Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane ahead of him.

But they underestimate the 23-year-old who has matured even further as a player and a person since leaving Ipswich Town two years ago for the Premiership with Charlton Athletic. He leaves the Valley after becoming skipper and netting 37 goals.

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Immediately after his £2.6m move from Portman Road, Bent banged in 22 goals in all, 19 in the Premiership, the highest scoring Englishman in the top flight and even last year when he was blighted by injury and playing in a poor side that had three different managers, he managed to put away 15 goals.

It is his goals that make him so valuable and Martin Jol has made a sound investment for a player that rises to every challenge and is still improving.

He does not fear competition and with Defoe, along with Mido, expected to leave, bent will have plenty of opportunity to earn his spurs.

In an interview I did with Marcus Stewart, who at that time was on target to score 19 goals for Ipswich Town in his first season in the top flight and was being touted for an England place, he told me Bent, who was shining in the reserves after standing out at youth level, would replace him in the first team and go on to play at the very highest level.

It seemed a no-brainer, after all Bent had all the potential in the world, but that was all it was at that time - potential.

Bent didn't disappoint and has progressed to the point where he can demand such a fee and shows as a man that he is not motivated purely by money - indeed he is being paid around £30,000 a week less by Tottenham than he would have been by West Ham had he chosen to join his old manager Alan Curbishley.

Bent's motivation is doing the right thing, playing at the highest level, against the best in Europe and continuing to learn and improve, so that he not only wins more caps - but also is a regular starter for England.

There is nothing arrogant about the London-born lad who was brought up in Huntingdon after his mum and dad split up but they stayed close and have had a big influence in his development as a person and a player.

He has kept his feet on the ground and his self-belief and determination get him through the tougher times.

Bent made his full debut for Ipswich as a 17-year-old in the 3-1 UEFA Cup win at Helsingborgs and netted his first goal in a 4-1 League Cup defeat at Newcastle United when he ran on to a long Matteo Sereni ball and finished with style at St James' Park leaving Alan Shearer nodding in appreciation.

After scoring against his first Premiership goal, the winner after going on as a substitute against Middlesbrough Bent was soon stepping up at England Under 21 level and attracting the big boys. He had been effective at younger international age groups, including scoring twice against Germany at Portman Road in the Under 19s win, part of an eight goal haul in 12 matches.

His return for Peter Taylor was remarkable, an incredible nine strikes in 14 games, many after coming off the bench.

When the switch to the Premiership inevitably came, Bent stepped up once again as his goals and two international outings indicate.

There is little doubt, that as he adds to his senior caps, so he will get the goals and at White Hart Lane he will soon win over the doubting Tottenham fans as he helps them progress domestically and in Europe.

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