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Page last updated at 06:51 GMT, Monday, 24 May 2010 07:51 UK

Darren Bent out to prove World Cup worth to England

International, Wembley: England v Mexico
Date: Monday, 24 May Kick-off: 2000 BST
Coverage: Live commentary 1930 BST on BBC Radio 5 live and BBC Sport website; live text on BBC Sport website and mobiles; also live on ITV 1

Sunderland and England striker Darren Bent
Bent has been in superb form for Sunderland this season

Striker Darren Bent aims to persuade England boss Fabio Capello he deserves to be in this summer's World Cup squad.

He hopes to play in Monday's Wembley friendly with Mexico, with another game against Japan on 30 May before the final 23-man squad is announced.

The Sunderland star said: "It would top off a fantastic season for me, to go to the World Cup and play in probably the best sporting event in the world."

Bent, 26, missed out on selection for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

The former Tottenham, Charlton and Ipswich player, who has not scored for England in five appearances, was one of five strikers named in Capello's 30-man squad, which has to be cut to 23 by 1 June.

Bent's total of 24 goals in the Premier League last season was bettered by only Didier Drogba and Wayne Rooney and is comfortably superior to that of Jermain Defoe, Emile Heskey or Peter Crouch, his main rivals for a place on the plane to South Africa.

"I am a firm believer that I can go there and do it on that stage," stated Bent. "If I could, it would be the greatest achievement of my life."


Despite his determination to force himself into Capello's final cut, Bent is mentally prepared for missing out, having gone through the same process four years ago.

Back then, Bent was in superb form for Charlton after scoring 22 goals but found himself overlooked, with the then 17-year-old Theo Walcott winning a surprise place in Sven-Goran Eriksson's squad.

"It was disappointing and hurt like hell, but I'm a stronger person and if I was to miss out, I will know how to deal with it," added Bent.

"That's what I had to do after missing the last one, the following season just get back to doing what I know how to do."

Having struggled for first-team football at Tottenham, Bent has reignited his career at Sunderland after arriving for £10m last summer.

"In the previous two years, I had a lot of disappointment and a lot of criticism but this season, I have scored 25 goals," commented Bent.

"It was different the last time because a lot of people were saying, 'You are definitely going to go', 'Trust me, you are going to be on the plane', and it was a shock when I didn't go.

"It was a case of, 'Oh, I'm not going', and it hit me hard.

"But I have dealt with it before and if I get the phone call and he says I'm not going, yes, I will be disappointed and upset but I will just go on holiday and watch the World Cup from wherever I am in the world and then get on with it next season."

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see also
Wembley surface worries Ferdinand
24 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
England 3-1 Mexico
24 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Capello names surprise Cup squad
11 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup scouting: strikers
27 Apr 10 |  World Cup 2010
Bruce backs Bent for England call
21 Nov 09 |  Sunderland
Bent backed for World Cup place
13 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Striker Bent gets England call-up
09 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Goals will impress Capello - Bent
12 Oct 09 |  Sunderland
World Cup Scouting - Darren Bent
19 Apr 06 |  World Cup 2006

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