Bent: I'm nagging Young and Downing to stay at Villa
Published 16:16 01/06/11 By MirrorFootball
Darren Bent has pleaded with his England and Aston Villa team-mates Ashley Young and Stewart Downing to remain at their club - and continue to help him deliver goals.
Bent has benefited from the service provided by Manchester United target Young and Downing - linked strongly with Liverpool - since his £18 million move from Sunderland to Villa in January.
It has helped him to become a first-choice striker for England and he will be looking to score for the fourth successive international on Saturday against Switzerland at Wembley.
Bent said: "I've been in both of their ears, trying to convince them to stay. They are two top, top players and, if we can hold onto them next season, it will be fantastic.
"I hope they stay. What is going on in their careers and lives is down to them but for me, being a striker, you want the best service and they are probably the two best wingers in the league.
"If we can keep hold of them two, I will be very, very happy."
Bent netted nine times in 16 games for Villa and carried that form into the international arena with his goals against Denmark and Wales after breaking his duck in the autumn against Switzerland.
He said: "A lot of people, when I made the move, were questioning if it was the right decision. I knew in my head it was the right decision for me, and my performances for Villa have been good.
"I've managed to get goals and my England career has picked up as well. For me, it was the perfect move at the right time."
Bent may be at the forefront of Capello's current plans but a year ago to the day he suffered heartbreak when being left out of the World Cup squad for South Africa.
It made him determined to return this season and make the kind of impact which meant he could not be marginalised by the England head coach.
He said: "I was really disappointed when the squad was announced. I remember sitting by the phone all morning and it was a really disappointing day for me.
"I tried to put it out of my mind and get on with it. Obviously it took a lot longer than I thought it was going to take. But at the same time, you just want to keep playing well and hopefully not miss another major tournament.
"I went away to America on holiday and watched all the games over there as a fan and wanted them to do well.
"Since the World Cup, and when Fabio didn't pick me, he has played me virtually everytime I've been fit.
"I've managed to reward him with goals and hopefully there will be a few more for me.
"The goal against Switzerland gave me massive confidence. It felt like a big weight had been lifted off my shoulders because as a striker and a goalscorer you always want to score goals.
"I had a few caps and had not got any goals and you start to think 'when is the first one coming' but I was fortunate to get in the right place at the right time again and stuck it away."
Bent is determined England qualify for the Euro 2012 finals after being part of the squad which lost to Croatia at Wembley and failed to go through to the 2008 tournament.
He said: "That was, international-wise, the lowest point. The atmosphere wasn't good at all and the conditions were horrible and raining.
"I didn't get much of the game (the last 10 minutes as a substitute) but it was really disappointing.
"This time around we've got off to a good start and hopefully we can keep on track by beating Switzerland, play really well, get the three points and give ourselves a big opportunity to kick on."
A goal against the Swiss would also break Bent's duck at Wembley.
He said: "I've not got a goal there for anyone, to be honest. I've thought about that a couple of times.
"I would like to put that one to bed so if I get an opportunity to play this weekend, hopefully that's another one I can chalk off.
"I'm not sure it will be quite on the scale of Messi's [in the Champions League final] though!"