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Page last updated at 19:42 GMT, Saturday, 21 November 2009

Bruce backs Bent for England call

Darren Bent
Bent is the leading English scorer in the Premier League

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce believes striker Darren Bent "has to be" in England boss Fabio Capello's squad for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Bent scored the only goal of the game - his ninth of the season - as Sunderland beat title chasers Arsenal on Saturday.

And despite the 25-year-old's poor display in England's 1-0 friendly loss to Brazil last week, Bruce said: "For me, he would have to be in the squad.

"I don't think he is going to be judged on that friendly. He's been terrific."

Bent is the leading English goalscorer in the Premier League this season, having reignited his career with a summer move to Sunderland after two years largely warming the bench at Tottenham.

I actually don't think Mr Capello will take any notice of the friendly against Brazil

Steve Bruce

As well as Saturday's goal against Arsenal, Bent has also scored against league leaders Chelsea as well as Manchester United and Liverpool.

His form was rewarded by Capello with a start in England's friendly against Brazil in Qatar, but he was unable to have any impact on the game thanks in the main to a poor team performance.

That came on the back of a penalty miss in his side's 2-0 defeat to Tottenham on 7 November, and it appeared his international chances had suffered a blow.

But a match-winning performance against Arsenal prompted Bruce to say: "He played on his own and ran a million miles for the team.


"For me, he would have to be in the squad because he scores a goal - he has scored against all the big clubs.

"But it's not just his goalscoring, his appetite and his work-rate are absolutely unbelievable

"This display shows what type of person he is. His overall work-rate and attitude for it were terrific after what has been a difficult couple of weeks for him, missing a penalty at Tottenham and then the England debacle.

Bruce delighted with Arsenal scalp

"But he has bounced back the way he should."

And Bruce insisted he would have no hesitation in taking Bent to South Africa if he were England coach, saying: "Absolutely, 100%.

"I actually don't think Mr Capello will take any notice of that (the friendly against Brazil). I would have thought he will pick a team that's in form, and when you have got an outstanding goalscorer, as Darren is..."

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see also
Sunderland 1-0 Arsenal
21 Nov 09 |  Premier League
Brazil 1-0 England
14 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Bent backed for World Cup place
13 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Striker Bent gets England call-up
09 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Tottenham 2-0 Sunderland
07 Nov 09 |  Premier League
Bent seals record Sunderland move
05 Aug 09 |  Sunderland

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