In-form Bent in line for recall from Capello

August 12, 2008
By Dale Johnson

In-form Tottenham Hotspur striker Darren Bent is in line for a recall to the England squad after a prolific pre-season.

Darren Bent
Empics / IanWaltonBent scores against Roma at the weekend

The £16.5million striker, who failed to make an impression at White Hart Lane last season, has bagged 13 goals in the run up to the start of the Premier League campaign as he looks to prove he can plug the gap left by Robbie Keane's sale to Liverpool.

And with England coach Fabio Capello short on options for next week's friendly with the Czech Republic it seems the former Charlton Athletic forward may get the nod.

England are almost certain to be without both Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen for the game at Wembley Stadium and Bent's brace against AS Roma at the weekend, with assistant coach Franco Baldini watching in the stands, could have sealed his place in the squad, which will be named on Saturday evening rather than Thursday as originally planned.

It will be Bent's first call-up into the England squad since the demise of Steve McClaren following defeat in a euro 2008 qualifier against Croatia last November. So far he has just three caps to his name.

'It is possible,' said Capello. 'Bent only played at the end of last season but Tottenham paid a lot of money to sign him and two years ago he was a very important player at Charlton.

'Baldini told me he played very well so we will have to wait and see.'

Jermain Defoe, Theo Walcott, Peter Crouch, Dean Ashton and Gabriel Agbonlahor are also all in the frame.

Bent started only 11 Premier League games for Spurs in his debut season despite the huge price tag, though he did bag three goals in the final 11 matches of the campaign. But a total of six League goals in 2007/08 will need to be improved upon if he is to remain in Capello's thoughts for the upcoming World Cup qualifying campaign.

'We will qualify for the World Cup. We will be in South Africa. I am sure of it,' Capello said. 'Spain were the best team at the Euros. They won because they played with confidence. The other countries played with a lot of spirit and the level of their players was good. But we are at the same level or better.

'We have to play with spirit and we have to play with confidence. It is down to me to transmit it,' he said. 'The players believe in themselves. That is why they have improved every game.'

Capello is also set to make a final decision on who will captain the country full time with John Terry, David Beckham and Steven Gerrard all hoping the reports that Rio Ferdinand has already been chosen are wide of the mark.