Sunderland striker Darren Bent has admitted he considered retiring from England duty after being left out of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™.
Bent was named in England's provisional 30-man group for a pre-World Cup training camp in Austria, but coach Fabio Capello dropped him from the final 23 for South Africa. The 26-year-old insists Capello's decision to include him in the initial squad was a "token gesture" after his fine season with Sunderland and he even thought about walking away from international action.
But Bent, who has scored 48 goals in the last two seasons, is determined to prove Capello wrong by winning back his place in the squad for the European Championship qualifiers. "I felt that I was taken to Austria as a token gesture. It was as though he [Capello] decided he had to take me because of the goals I'd scored," Bent told The Journal. "He took me to the training camp, gave me 45 minutes and because I didn't score two goals, that was it. It hurt. I can't deny that was how I felt. I had long conversations with my dad and my manager. I just felt I was only there to make up the numbers. I thought 'should I just call it a day with England?' I contemplated it. But you can't burn your bridges like that."
Bent hopes England's poor showing at the World Cup, which ended with a 4-1 last 16 defeat to Germany, will give Capello an incentive to shake up his squad and recall the likes of the Sunderland forward. "A few people have said to me that I've jumped up the pecking order after what happened over there, but who knows?" Bent said. "People are saying that this is going to change and that is going to change, but how much can it? All I can do is keep going, keep believing in myself and keep scoring goals. I'm going to keep working hard, keep playing well for Sunderland and keep knocking on that door. That's all I can do."