Fulham striker Darren Bent is targeting a place in England’s World Cup squad after a return to first-team football at Fulham.
The clinical striker was a regular towards the end of Fabio Capello’s reign before injury, and then a lack of playing time at Aston Villa, undermined his international chances under Roy Hodgson.
England still need to on Tuesday beat Poland to guarantee qualification for next summer’s tournament in Brazil but despite Fulham’s early season-struggles and England’s relatively strong options up front, Bent believes a place in Hodgson’s squad is a realistic target.
‘I hope I can get into the World Cup squad, it’s been a while since I was involved,’ the striker told The People. ‘If I score a few goals this season and Fulham do well then I will give myself a chance.
‘I’m not looking too far ahead but if I have a good season I will give myself the best opportunity to be in the squad.
‘I would like to get the nod but Jermain (Defoe) deserves to be in there because he still scores a lot of goals, and Rickie Lambert has done well.’
Bent was likely to feature throughout Euro 2012 until an ankle injury effectively ended his 2011/2012 season prematurely having also been considered highly unfortunate to have missed out on selection for the 2006 and 2010 World Cups despite prolific seasons.
He scored 22 goals in 44 games with Charlton before Sven Goran Eriksson gambled on taking only four strikers, two of whom were unfit, Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney, and another then unproven, Theo Walcott, who was only 17.
In 2009/2010, Bent scored 25 in 41 for Sunderland but Capello selected Peter Crouch, Defoe, Rooney and Emile Heskey.
Given Rooney, Walcott, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck are all very likely to make Hodgson’s squad should England secure qualification, Rickie Lambert, Andy Carroll, Bent and Defoe are likely to compete for any remaining places.