If there’s a more consistent goalscorer than Darren Bent available to us then I’ll eat one of my hats.
There seems to have been a bit of a knock on Bent’s attitude lately but this doesn’t go with what I think I know about him. He came up through the same Ipswich golden generation as the likes of Kieron Dyer, Titus Bramble and Darren Ambrose, but by all accounts was a good character who worked hard for his team and for his career. I used to follow Ipswich quite closely and sensed that Bent was perhaps quite a streaky player, that he could go on long runs out of form but then go on goal bonanzas.
There’s no doubt that he’s nearer the ‘old school’ of forward, a la Michael Owen and Fernando Torres, than the new one, a la Christian Benteke, and that’s a strike against him. But goals are goals, and Bent has always scored lots of them. His two off years came at Spurs in 2007-08, when he was odd man out in a forward line that was mainly led by Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane, and last year at Villa where Benteke was a one-man wrecking crew.
It’s all too easy to label players as having a bad attitude but I don’t think there’s really any evidence of this around Bent. He feels like a perfect Roy Hodgson ‘buy quality at a low price’ signing. Whether the current setup is geared towards rehabilitating such talents is questionable – I don’t think it is really – but that’s not Bent’s fault. He’ll be a great signing for someone.