Royle's praise for the two Darrens

JOE Royle knew when he opened the dam gates, the gushing raw talent of the dashing Darrens would burst through in dramatic fashion

JOE Royle knew when he opened the dam gates, the gushing raw talent of the dashing Darrens would burst through in dramatic fashion, writes Derek Davis.

And so it proved. Royle had held the two teenagers straining on a leash like a pair of the manager's labradors, until he was sure they were sufficiently rested and ready.

Their first start in nearly two months could not have been more explosive as they scored the three goals to complete a come-from- behind victory with only 10 men and rounded the day off with a call into the England Under-21 squad to face Italy tomorrow.

And they can expect to keep their places when Town entertain Wolves on Wednesday week at Portman Road. Royle said: "It is great they have been called up, they both thoroughly deserve it. They have done well and look mature and strong."

The Blues boss had been criticised in some quarters for not starting the pair earlier but his decision to rest them has been fully vindicated. He said: "It was planned for them to come in at the right time. You could see they needed rest and I said before the Brighton game I wanted to take Darren Bent out of the front line for a while.

"Then the longer the team went undefeated it was hard to bring them in and change things.

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"Darren Bent has looked stronger and stronger each game he came on and Darren Ambrose has grown physically in front of our eyes in the past couple of months. Both have matured as people and they are fantastic to work with.

"Now they have been let slip it is up to them to keep it going.

"We will pick the team week-to- week but you don't need to be a genius to work out they will start in the next game."

And Royle empathises with Everton boss David Moyes who is trying desperately to keep control of 17-year-old Wayne Rooney's meteoric rise after he was called into the full England squad. Royle said: "Wayne is possibly up for grabs for a number of nations. Sven will want to put a stamp on him. I am sure Sven wants to see him as soon as possible in an international atmosphere. Equally I am sure David Moyes would like it to be at least 12 months down the line.

"I know David is protecting him as well as he can at the moment. The kid is just 17 and it is immense for him."

While the two Darrens took the plaudits, Royle chose someone else as his man-of-the-match.

He said: "Fabian Wilnis was absolutely excellent. I took him off too early last week and it didn't work. I apologised to him during the week, he had not really done anything wrong, it was just tactical. Then Hermann got sent off and it wall went wrong. His work down that right-hand side against Sheffield helped win us the game, he was awesome."

And Marcus Bent was also praised for his contribution after going on as a half-time substitute for Jim Magilton, a move Royle describes as half tactical, half injury with the Irishman taking a blow to the hip.

Chris Makin went off with an ankle injury to be replaced by Jermaine Wright in the first half but he, too, should be fit for the Wolves game. Spaniard Pablo Counago, who will get no sympathy from Royle, has admitted the referee had no choice in sending him off after he flicked a hand at Michael Brown's face after they had tussled for the ball.

Royle said: "Pablo has admitted what he did and you can't raise your hands so I have no argument with the referee's decision."

But he refused to allow that set back deflect from the feeling of pride he had for his team.

"It was a wonderful fightback. It didn't look too good when we were down to 10 men but all credit to the payers... You have to marvel at the team spirit."

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