Rejuvenated Bent has his eyes on Wembley glory
BY PAT MOONEY - DARREN Bent has probably been the main beneficiary of Harry Redknapp s revolution at the Lane in the wake of Juande Ramos s departure. The Tottenham striker, signed for a then club record fee of £16.5million in 2007, has regained his confidence – and his
DARREN Bent has probably been the main beneficiary of Harry Redknapp's revolution at the Lane in the wake of Juande Ramos's departure.
The Tottenham striker, signed for a then club record fee of £16.5million in 2007, has regained his confidence - and his scoring touch - under Redknapp. He has also won back his place in the England squad.
Last week Bent came off the bench at Watford to score the goal that handed Spurs their third Carling Cup semi-final spot in three years.
The former Charlton forward, who was fourth-choice striker at one stage under Ramos, was injured when the Lilywhites defeated bitter rivals Arsenal in the two-legged semi final last season.
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Bent then found himself on the bench at Wembley last February when Spurs won their first trophy in nine years in the 2-1 victory over Chelsea.
And with Tottenham paired with Championship outfit Burnley in the Carling semi-final next month, Bent feels he has a great chance to make up for that big personal disappointment.
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"After the final I was delighted for the boys but on a personal note I was disappointed not to get on the pitch," he said.
"I just hope we can make it there again so I can play my part, No one remembers unsused subs so I want to stake a claim and play there again this season.
"It would mean a lot just to get on the pitch even for a couple of minutes, never mind score the winner at Wembley."
But the England international knows he has to keep scoring to fulfil his Wembley dream. Redknapp favours a five-man midfield when playmaker Luka Modric is fit and that means just one striker in a 4-4-1-1 formation.
Although Bent is Tottenham's top scorer with 12, last week's strike was his first in six games.
And both Russian star Roman Pavlyuchenko, signed as Dimitar Berbatov's replacement and on-loan rookie Fraizer Campbell are playing well - and scoring.
"The competition for places at Tottenham is big," admitted Bent. "But at a club like this you are going to have the best players.
"You are not going to have it harder than I did last year with Berbatov, Robbie Keane and Jermain Defoe."
Yet, Bent's chances for the final - and Saturday's league clash against Manchester United - may well be helped by the red tape surrounding Campbell's ineligibility to face his club United - hot favourites to see off Derby County in the other Carling semi.
Loaned players are not allowed to face their own clubs in the Premier and I understand United included a clause preventing him from facing his employees in either the FA Cup or Carling Cup.
Bent also wants the chance to show Redknapp he can strike up a partnership with Pavlyuchencko after sacked first-team coach Gus Poyet had publicly stated the duo could not play together.
Since then the pair have worked hard and long at Spurs Lodge to develop an understanding.
"No partnership is going to work straight away," said Bent, who says he really enjoys working under Redknapp. "I never once questioned my ability," he said. "Harry's come in and he has done fantastically well. He has everybody playing well again.
"When he came in he talked to me individually and said: 'you're a fantastic player. I know you can score goals because you've been doing it against my sides for years now. He also said I was going to get my chance and play games under him. I scored in the games against Bolton and Arsenal and it's just gone from there.
"Berbatov and Keane and were fantastic strikers but they are not here anymore. I want to score as many goals as I can and show people that I can fill the gap left by them.
"We know what they did for the club but we've got to move on with the players we have. Pav, Fraizer and myself have all done well since Harry came in and hopefully it will continue."