Sunderland striker Darren Bent is hoping to convince England manager Fabio Capello that he deserves to feature in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa this summer.
The former Tottenham Hotspur forward has maintained his goal scoring record this season, hitting the back of the net 15 times in the league. Level with his main rival Jermain Defoe.
"In terms of England, I don't think I have done myself any harm by continuing to score,” said Bent to the Sunderland Echo .
"I know me and Jermain have the same number of goals,” he continued. “But he got five in one game and three in another.
"I just try to be consistent and score goals in as many games as possible.”
It could even be argued that Bent doesn’t have the same quality of supply as his former teammate. Spurs lie in sixth position in the Premier League, while the Black Cats have tumbled down the league since their early good start.
They now sit in 13th, and this is a subtlety that doesn’t escape the mind of Sunderland’s top scorer.
"I don't go out thinking of England. I want to score to help Sunderland,” he explained. "With the bad run we are on, every goal means more to me."
"At the moment, it does feel like every chance I get needs to be stuck away because I don't know where the next one is coming from and I don't know when we're going to concede a goal,” he added.
"The main thing is that I stay positive and do everything I can to help the team get a result. Hopefully that will come this weekend.
That might be somewhat optimistic, Sunderland travel to London to face Arsenal in the Emirates Stadium. The Gunners aren’t on a great run, only winning once in their last six games, but this is nothing compared to Steve Bruce’s disastrous run–the Black Cats last victory was against Arsenal in the reverse fixture at the Stadium of Light.
That was back in November.
In a strange way, this reality demonstrates just how good a striker Bent is. He has scored more than one goal every two games in a struggling side, what kind of impact could Bent have in a side like Everton or Fulham?
Speaking of the Cottagers, there are a growing number of people calling for Bobby Zamora to be included in Capello’s squad for the Egypt game. Could the 29-year-old be the player to emerge from the shadows to grab a place in the World Cup squad?