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Bent out to impress new England boss and claim Euro 2012 spot

By Paul Brown

Darren Bent admits he is gutted to see the end of Fabio Capello's rein but he's also relishing the opportunity to impress the incoming England supremo.

Bent accepts it's now like "the first day of school" with every Three Lions wannabee out to star.

The 28-year-old could be reunited with Harry Redknapp, hotly tipped to follow the Italian into the national hotseat.

Redknapp, of course, sold Bent to Sunderland after famously chastising the striker for a close-range miss.

Redknapp claimed "his missus could have scored that one" after Bent fluffed a late chance in Tottenham's 1-1 draw with Portsmouth in January 2009.

He then wasted no time in offloading the star striker.

Bent sees this as ancient history and believes he will catch Redknapp's eye if he continues to score goals for Villa.

Bent, speaking at a special event to launch EA SPORTS FIFA Street, said: "Fabio left me out of the last World Cup squad but after that he picked me and played me every time I was fit.

"I thought I had a good chance of going to the Euros this year, so it is just a shame he has quit.

"Now it is like the first day of school again, isn't it? Everybody has to impress and I'm sure there were people who were out of the mix who think they have a chance now.

"All I have to keep doing is what I'm doing - playing well for Aston Villa and no one can really ignore goals.

"If I can keep playing well and scoring goals I will get picked.

"If Harry is the manager or somebody else is the gaffer they will see that and pick me as well.

"Was there an issue between Harry and I? Not so much really. A lot was built off that one quote.

"I didn't even know about it until the next day when it all blew up. But after a while it didn't bother me, really.

"People were asking me what I thought but in my next game I scored two against Bolton."

Goals have certainly been on the agenda since he made another move, this time from Sunderland to Villa in January 2010.

Bent became Villa's record transfer that glorious New Year afternoon and he hasn't looked back since, bringing a classy clinical streak to the team.

His goal glut led to plenty of speculation this past transfer window, with Liverpool and QPR linked.

But Bent is adamant he's loving life in claret and blue.

He continued: "I have said for a while now that I want to stay at Villa for a long time now.

"I am settled here and I hope I can do it. Last month was easy for me.

"I didn't have to come out and say anything because I knew the situation and the people around me did too.

"I hope it will show on the pitch with my commitment to the cause now and long may that continue.

"Now January is out of the way we know what players we've got and we're all fighting for the same goal which is to finish in the top ten."

As he said himself, if he continues finding the net for Villa it will surely herald a squad spot for the Three Lions in Ukraine and Poland this summer.

That would mean joining Joe Hart on the voyage to the Euros, a goalkeeper he admires greatly and one he faces this afternoon as Villa square off against title-chasers Manchester City.

He added: "Joe's probably the best in the world right now.

"Considering how young he is he seems to have age beyond his years.

"With England we are always having banter about penalty saves and stuff like that, he's a really nice guy.

"He was in goal last year when I got my debut goal so I gave him a bit of stick after that as well."

Let's hope he's giving him more stick this evening!

Arrow BulletDarren Bent appears in EA SPORTS FIFA Street, which is out on March 16. Pre-order your copy NOW on PlayStation 3 or Xbox at www.GAME.co.uk. Visit www.facebook.com/EASPORTSFIFA and www.YouTube.com/EASPORTSfootball.



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