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Page last updated at 12:33 GMT, Monday, 10 November 2008

Alan Hansen's column

Alan Hansen
By Alan Hansen
BBC Sport football expert

The rejuvenation of Darren Bent's career has run parallel with the remarkable revival of Tottenham under the shrewd stewardship of manager Harry Redknapp.

Bent had struggled to make a serious impact at Spurs since he made a 16.5m move to White Hart Lane from Charlton Athletic in June 2007.

Darren Bent
When you add confidence to Darren Bent's qualities you have a real handful

Alan Hansen

But he has been a striker reborn recently, with a hat-trick against Dinamo Zagreb in the Uefa Cup and two goals in the win at Manchester City taking him to 11 for the season.

Bent has said Redknapp has shown more faith in him than his predecessor Juande Ramos - this is a simplistic view. It will be a combination of things, with the confidence factor playing a huge part.

I seem to say this every season but it is that old question - where does confidence come from and where does it go?

Bent is a striker who can trouble any defender. When he is playing well you would not want to face him. He is powerful, has pace, strength and goalscoring ability but all that is no good to you without confidence.

He had not been able to win a regular place at Spurs, the team had been struggling, he was struggling personally and the manager was not playing him.

Bent was playing at a club that, irrespective of their league placing, has huge levels of expectation and is always high profile.

He also signed at a time when Spurs had Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov. They are special talents, with skill and ability in abundance. This could have affected him, on the pitch and possibly even in training. The fans probably had more affection for those two, who had been so successful, than they had for the newcomer.

Bent was a big success at Charlton, scoring goals in a struggling team, but there have been cases of players moving to bigger clubs and being overawed. I saw it happen at Liverpool and it has happened at other places such as Manchester United.

Not everyone is like Gary Lineker was. He was totally single-minded and knew he would score goals wherever he played - it would not have mattered had Pele or Diego Maradona been in the same team as Gary, he would not have felt overawed.

Bent now looks more at home at Spurs. He may be thriving on the extra responsibility, with Keane and Berbatov gone, as well as Jermain Defoe before them, and having a manager who will play him.

Now he seemingly can do no wrong. When you add confidence to his qualities that I mentioned earlier, then you have got a player who is a real handful.

Redknapp will also have played a massive part. I am sure he will have taken Bent to one side and said one or two things of a positive nature to try to get the best out of him.

Harry Redknapp
Redknapp is hoping Spurs have a bright future

Harry will have judged what sort of treatment Bent requires, whether it is the arm around the shoulder or the kick up the backside. Whatever approach he has taken, it has worked.

If I was summing up Bent's renaissance, I would attribute it to three things. What Harry has said. How Bent has reacted to his manager's words and how Spurs have started to play well again.

Redknapp has overseen a truly remarkable change in fortunes at Tottenham but it was their resilience that got the show on the road again in the first place.

Let's be honest, they were pummelled by Arsenal and battered by Liverpool and came out of the other side with four points.

And they deserve credit for that because they kept going at all times and suddenly found those games turning in their favour. What could - and should - have been no points became four and the changing room is then a different place.

In previous games this season, once they went two behind it was game over. Those players were more or less back in the dressing room already. Not anymore.

I think Harry was a great appointment for Spurs but it was also a great job for him. He should have lit up the world's biggest cigar when he got that phone call because the only way was up for Spurs.

He has given them structure, resilience and pointed an undoubtedly talented group of players in the right direction.

Harry is a proven manager and has also shown that in an era when there is a taste for foreign coaches, it is the good-old fashioned English manager who can get you out of trouble.

It might be a different matter at the top end of the table but Harry has shown his quality again - and striker Bent is an early beneficiary.

Alan Hansen was talking to BBC Sport's Phil McNulty

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see also
Man City 1-2 Tottenham
09 Nov 08 |  Premier League
Bent is flying - Redknapp
09 Nov 08 |  Match of the Day
Harry believes in me more than Ramos - Bent
09 Nov 08 |  Match of the Day


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