Bent wants Villa duo to stay

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 (Young and Downing) 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 always 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 at Wembley
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 though! (in
the Champions League final).” Manchester United midfielder Michael
Carrick has withdrawn from the squad with a hip problem and is
Capello’s only injury setback.