Bent must step up to fill Rooney gap at the Euros

Darren Bent is the only English striker with all the attributes to play in the lone forward role.

And with Wayne Rooney missing, it is vital that Bent (right) leads the line and helps England maintain their ­impressive run with their 4-2-3-1 formation.

It is a system which works and, even with Rooney missing, Steven Gerrard can fill the gap behind a main striker. Let’s not kid ourselves, England are behind Spain and Germany. Rooney’s absence makes overtaking them even more difficult.

In the forthcoming friendlies, we might as well rest Rooney and try different things because we have to find a line-up which works without England’s best player at the Euros.

There are still many unanswered questions. I worry about Jack Wilshere. If fully fit, he starts. But if he misses too much of the season, he will struggle to be ready.

Phil Jones gets the nod at right-back. His ­versatility could also be important. There should still be a place for Rio Ferdinand. Scott Parker and Gareth Barry can do a job if Wilshere isn’t fit. Then you have pace down the flanks.

This is my England line-up (4-2-3-1) without Rooney: Hart, Jones, Ferdinand, Terry, Cole, Parker, Barry, Walcott, Gerrard, Young, Bent.


Spain boss Vicente Del Bosque showed what incredible strength in depth his side have this week.

I was in Alicante to watch Spain tear Scotland apart and the fascinating part was that Del Bosque had been able to chop, change and experiment.

Pepe Reina did not even make the bench. Xabi Alonso, Juan Mata and Fernando Torres were kept in reserve.

Spain tried out new players, Valencia's left back Jordi Alba, had a whale of a time. He was often the most attacking player on the pitch in the first half. Victor Valdes made his competitive debut.

It proved that Spain have the strongest squad in world football. In fact, they have the strongest squad EVER of any national team. Their second string would finish top from any Group from the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.

Perhaps the only team to really threaten at the Euros will be Germany. But it is impossible to see any other winners outside of Spain.


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