Darren Bent hopes his loan spell at Fulham will help him force his way into Roy Hodgson’s squad ahead of the World Cup Finals in Brazil.
The 29-year-old has endured a miserable time at Aston Villa of late, particularly last season when it became apparent he didn’t feature in Paul Lambert’s plans. With Christian Benteke established as the main striker for the Midlands club and Nicklas Helenius signed as back-up, chances are Bent would have been pushed further down the pecking order this term.
Newcastle United and, in particular, Crystal Palace had shown an interest in signing the forward, but when Martin Jol entered the bidding, there was only ever going to be one outcome. The Dutch coach signed Bent whilst he was in charge of Tottenham Hotspur, and the player is looking forward to a reunion at Craven Cottage.
“It was a frustrating period last season, but I’m here now and glad to be here,” he said in the Express and Star. “I just had to have one conversation with Martin and I knew it was where I wanted to be. Crystal Palace were interested and I respect Ian Holloway. But for me at this period and knowing Martin, it was the only place I wanted to go.”
Bent will firstly set his sights on regular football for his temporary club, which he hopes will lead to an England recall. Having won the last of his 13 caps in the friendly clash with Spain almost two years ago, he knows he must hit the ground running if he is to earn the attention of Hodgson. However, this is something he believes he is capable of.
“If I’m doing well and Fulham are doing well there’s no reason why I can’t be there,” added Bent, who is available for the first game of the season when the Cottagers face one of his former clubs, Sunderland, at the Stadium of Light.