Bent happy to change perceptions

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Striker Darren Bent believes he has won over his critics - including Harry Redknapp - and demonstrated he is good enough to be part of the England side.

Redknapp once famously said “my missus could have scored that one” after Bent missed a clear-cut chance for Tottenham against Portsmouth in January 2009.

But he has not looked back since leaving White Hart Lane with nearly 50 goals in two seasons with Sunderland and now Aston Villa.

Bent has also been on target in three successive internationals against Switzerland - his first goal for his country - Denmark and Wales.

Bent said: “I like to think I’ve changed a few perceptions of me over the past few months.

“Before I got the goal in Switzerland, a lot of people seemed to be saying they thought I wasn’t good enough and maybe I can’t score goals.

“I got the first one for my country and they seem to have kept coming.

“Hopefully I can keep changing people’s perceptions of me and showing them I can play at the top level and score goals.”

Bent is aware Redknapp is the bookmakers favourite to replace Fabio Capello when he stands down as head coach in just over 12 months time.

He said: “Since that moment, when Harry said what he did, I’ve scored a lot of goals.

“I’ve not let it affect me. I’ve not even thought about it until it’s been pointed out now.

“I know Harry’s a well liked guy. A lot of people listen to what he’s got to say.

“It was hard for me at the time. Once I left Spurs, I just got on with it and tried to show people that I’m a good footballer who can score goals. That’s what I’ve done.

“When I first left Spurs, it was on my mind to do well and really show people.

“But after the first season – when I’d scored a lot of goals at Sunderland – I just put it to bed and thought `Well, I’ve shown people now I can score goals and finish`.

“Whatever Harry said, it’s over now.”

Regarding the possibility of playing under Redknapp for England, Bent said: “I’ll just play as well as I can for my club side. If Harry gets the job, then good luck to him.

“If I keep playing well for my club and he doesn’t pick me, then obviously something’s going on.”

Bent admits he is now full of confidence when reporting for England duty after recovering from the disappointment of not being named in the 2010 World Cup squad.

He said: “I’m at a period now where I feel more confident than ever before in my career. I don’t think I have even been in so many squads consecutively and got on the pitch so often as well.”