Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Terry Backs Bent's Bid; Terry: It's Difficult to Look Past Bent

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Terry Backs Bent's Bid; Terry: It's Difficult to Look Past Bent

Article excerpt

TERRY Venables has thrown his weight behind Darren Bent's bid to force his way into England's World Cup squad as he argued it was impossible to ignore someone who had scored so many goals for Sunderland last season, writes LUKE EDWARDS.

Bent has made a mockery of those who wrote him off at Tottenham by netting 25 times in his first year on Wearside and that is enough for Venables to back him.

But the former England boss admits that it is up to Bent to prove he has the confidence and the determination to do it at international level as Fabio Capello prepares to cut his squad from 30 to 23 before travelling to South Africa. Sunderland's pounds 10m signing will have a chance to further his claim in a friendly against Mexico on Monday night and Japan next weekend, and Venables has warned that it is now or never for the 26-yearold.

He said: "Bent is a terrific goalscorer, but he's now got to be able to do that in the England team. He hasn't had much of a chance, to be fair, and when he has come in, he hasn't quite done it.

"You have got to look comfortable in that shirt, you have got to look like you are going stick your chest out and say, 'This is for me', rather than looking nervous. "But there's no doubt someone who has scored as many goals as he has scored has got to be seriously looked at, and they will be looking seriously at him." Much of the speculation in recent weeks has centred around who will partner Wayne Rooney up front in South Africa, with Emile Heskey struggling to command a regular place in the starting line-up at Aston Villa as the season drew to a close and Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe and Bent hungrily eyeing his place. But Venables, who paired up Alan Shearer and Teddy Sheringham to great effect in the England team which fell just short at Euro 96, knows Capello's decision with his strikers is as much about how his frontmen work in partnership as their individual contributions. …

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