Belfast Telegraph

Bent aiming for Euro 2012 place

Darren Bent has given new England head coach Roy Hodgson a massive boost by claiming he will be ready for Euro 2012.

The Aston Villa striker has been sidelined since February with ruptured ankle ligaments which were expected to keep him out for three months. He ultimately knows that it will be down to Hodgson, who announces his Euro 2012 squad on Wednesday, to decide whether he is worthy gambling on after missing Villa's last 19 games.

When asked if he will be fit for Euro 2012, Bent said: "I'd like to think so. My fitness is getting better every week and I go out every day working hard. I feel I'll be ready for the Euros. I've been doing a lot of work and I can do all the running in the world on the training ground but what counts is game situations."

He added: "That is where the test is and if I can get in the squad and play in the two friendlies (with Norway and Belgium) that is going to be a massive help as well. The medical staff came to see me on Wednesday, Gary Lewin and Ian Beasley, the doctor and the physio.

"The saw me shooting at goal and running through cones so they saw I could do all the basic things. It is just a case of whether the manager thinks I'm ready to go. It would be nice to get on the phone and have a conversation with him but, at the same time, I'm sure he has got his own ideas and hopefully I feature in that."

Bent admits the ultimate test will be how he performs in a match situation rather than on the training ground.

He said: "I guess I won't really know until I get into a match situation. If I can get my fitness up and get one or two goals in the friendly games that would put me right up there in terms of confidence as well.

"Confidence is a massive thing in the modern game and if I can get a couple of goals and even be in the squad it is going to give me a massive boost and that is going to help."

Bent has extra motivation after not being selected for the 2006 and 2010 World Cup squads while England failed to qualify for Euro 2008.

He said: "Of course, I would be pretty down not to go but, to be fair, it has happened to me twice before. It will be like the norm to be fair. If it happens, then I'll have to come back stronger like I have done the previous two times I missed out."


From Belfast Telegraph