Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bruce Not Surprised by Bent Omission

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bruce Not Surprised by Bent Omission

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner

STEVE Bruce believes Darren Bent should be the Premier League's top goalscorer, but the Sunderland manager was not surprised the 25-year-old will not be playing for England in Ukraine tomorrow.

The Black Cats' record signing scored his seventh goal of the campaign at Old Trafford last week - putting him one behind Liverpool's Fernando Torres in the Premier League charts.

But it was not enough to get him in an England squad missing the injured Jermain Defoe and Emile Heskey, who has started just one league game for Aston Villa this term.

"No disrespect to Darren, but I wasn't that surprised because if you analyse Fabio Capello he hasn't made many changes from the day he took over," said Bruce, widely regarded as the best player of his generation not to wear the Three Lions.

"He's an experienced manager - he's been there and worn the T-shirt - and thinks why should he change anything when people have done well for him, as the England team have over the last 18 months.

"The clamour is for Darren. All he can do is keep playing well and I'm sure his chance will come, it's as simple as that. Whether he can break in now to a World Cup squad, who knows? There's still six months to go."

Bruce is confident, however, his player will get a fair crack of the whip, discounting the conspiracy theorists who believe those playing for London clubs are viewed more favourably than North East-based players.

"Capello's seen a few of our games, so I don't think so," he said. "Because of the coverage the way it is, we can all see every game. The coverage in newspapers, radio and TV, I think it's beyond that. "So I wouldn't have thought it's a disadvantage." If the former centre-back is not going out of his way to push Bent's England chances, he is certainly campaigning for the Dubious Goals Panel to hand him another goal this season, after his last-minute strike against Wolverhampton Wanderers last month was credited as a Michael Mancienne own goal. …

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