International friendly: Brazil v England Venue: Khalifa International Stadium, Doha Date: Saturday, 14 November Kick-off: 1700 GMT Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live and online, with text commentary on BBC Sport website and mobile phones. Live on ITV1
Bent has started the season in top form for Sunderland
By Aimee Lewis
Alan Curbishley believes England should take Sunderland striker Darren Bent to next year's World Cup in South Africa.
The 25-year-old, who was managed by Curbishley at Charlton, is in line to face Brazil on Saturday, 12 months after he won the last of his four caps.
He is the Premier League's top English scorer with eight goals and Curbishley told BBC Sport: "His goals-to-games ratio puts him right up there.
"His fitness is top notch and I cannot think of a better impact player."
When Bent's name was included in the squad for the friendly against Brazil, some headlines suggested a "shock return" for the former Tottenham and Charlton striker.
But Curbishley insists he would have been surprised had national manager Fabio Capello not picked Bent.
What you're going to get is the pace, power, athleticism someone who will torment a defence for 90 minutes
"I would take him to the World Cup for two reasons," he said.
"Firstly, for his fitness levels - he's always top notch. And secondly, if you're not going to start him, then I think he will come on and change the dynamic of the game.
"When you talk to anyone about Darren Bent they'll say he's always the first one into training and the last one out.
"He would bring something different to the squad because he wants to go behind defences and I don't see too many English strikers doing that. Jermain Defoe is probably the only other one.
"He's a very, very good finisher, but he's also good in the air, deceptively so. He gets his fair share of headed goals as well. As a squad member he's got to have a chance."
Bent was also in the frame for the 2006 World Cup after finishing the Premier League season as the top English goalscorer - but was overlooked by then manager Sven-Goran Eriksson.
This time around, Bent has been given his opportunity because of injuries to regular squad members Emile Heskey and Theo Walcott.
But there is a sense that there is an opening for a striker to muscle his way into Capello's World Cup squad, with Wayne Rooney the only striker to be certain of his seat on the plane to South Africa.
The likes of Peter Crouch, Heskey, Walcott, Michael Owen and, to a lesser extent, Defoe, still seem to have plenty to prove to the Italian.
Curbishley suggests Bent is ahead of Manchester United's Owen in the pecking order for a World Cup place.
"I think it's a tight call," he said. "Michael Owen, as he's shown, can come on and have an impact. But I think Michael's got to do a bit more to convince Capello than Darren Bent has."
Curbishley is undoubtedly a huge admirer of the former Ipswich forward.
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