Bent in seventh heaven after England call
EXCLUSIVE: Former Town striker’s seven-goal salvo that secured his path to stardom and possible World Cup glory
Today he’s in seventh heaven after being selected in coach Fabio Capello’s provisional 30-strong party for England’s World Cup bid in the finals in South Africa starting next month.
It’s a feather in the cap of the Town academy system that Bent came through into the Ipswich first team to go on and score freely before carrying on his scoring feats at Charlton, Tottenham and now Sunderland.
Malcolm Moore is recruitment officer at the Blues academy and was instrumental in Bent being spotted and signed on schoolboy forms.
He explained: “My Cambridgeshire-based scout Barry Kettlewell went to look at a youngster playing for Godmanchester Rovers.
“When I asked how the lad did, Barry said not very well but that another 13-year-old had caught his eye.
“Barry said that this lad was lightning fast and never missed a goal.
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“So I went back with Barry the following week and Godmanchester won 7-0 with Darren scoring all seven.
“We said ‘he’ll do for us’ and Darren has made the most of his opportunity and I would certainly take him to the World Cup finals.
“If you need a goal with 15 to 20 minutes left there is no better player to bring off the bench.
“He’s got a great eye for goal and even if he misses he shrugs his shoulders and never hides.”
The Town academy in its current form is now in its 12th season, and Moore rates Bent up there alongside Kieron Dyer, Richard Wright and Titus Bramble as being one of the best products.
“With his pal Darren Ambrose he’d always have a ball out on the practice ground whatever the time and he’d even haul Shane Supple out and fire in shots at the keeper,” added Moore.
“His parents Shirley and Mervyn have been fantastic and like everybody at Ipswich Town must be very proud of his achievements.”
Bent netted 25 goals this season with only Didier Drogba and potential international team-mate Wayne Rooney doing better.
“Every time I score a goal, I get asked the England question,” said Bent.
“Obviously if I go, I’ll be delighted and if I don’t I have done myself no harm by scoring the goals I have.
“Every player wants to go to a World Cup, but at the same time, it is not up to me.”
Bent has edged his way in front of Carlton Cole and Bobby Zamora and with Rooney and Peter Crouch looking certainties to go to South Africa he looks to be facing a battle with Emile Heskey and Jermain Defoe to avoid being left out of the final 23-strong party.
N (SQUARE) IPSWICH academy manager Sammy Morgan is doubly pleased with the England party having played a part in the early development of keeper Robert Green at Norwich as well as being delighted that Bent will be representing the Blues academy.
NOTE: Suggest lift the England squad from PA.