Bent keen to shine against Spain

Bent spearheads one of the least experienced strikeforces assembled

by Fabio Capello, who will miss his son’s wedding in Italy as it

clashes with Saturday’s game at Wembley The Aston Villa player has

won only 11 caps himself but that is five more than the combined

tally of the other strikers in Capello’s squad – Gabriel Agbonlahor

(three caps), Danny Welbeck (two), Bobby Zamora (one) and Daniel

Sturridge (none). Bent has netted four goals in his last five

internationals but he is not getting ahead of himself after missing

out on selection for the 2006 and 2010 World Cups. However, he

knows showing what he is capable of against the reigning world and

European champions can only enhance his chances of being on the

plane to Poland and Ukraine next June. Bent said: “I remember

playing against Brazil a couple of years ago and thinking ‘wow,

I’ve never played a team like it’. This is going up another gear.

Spain are the best team in the world, who won the last World Cup

and the Euros. “They’ve got players out of this world and will be a

great game to be involved in. “It would be great to play against

someone like Spain and prove you can handle yourself at that level.

“There is no-one better. They are the top, top level and you are

going to meet people like them next summer so it’s a chance to show

what you can do.” Bent has slotted in effectively in tandem with

Wayne Rooney, who has been left out of this squad following his

three-match ban for the Euro finals while Capello experiments. But

the former Sunderland player has had enough international setbacks

to take nothing for granted. He said: “Some people have said to me

‘you are a regular player now for England’ but I don’t want to

count my chickens because a lot has happened to me with England

squads. “My caution is after missing out on the 2010 finals. So

much can change, even going back to 2006 when I got left out of

those finals as well. “I can’t count my chickens but if I keep

playing well, and the ball keeps flying in the net, then that’s all

I can do.” Agbonlahor is recalled after a two-year absence and has

impressed alongside Bent at club level this season. But Capello is

also eager to assess the potential of Welbeck and Sturridge with

the Chelsea youngster called up at senior level for the first time.

In all, there are 11 players with six caps or less in the squad

which is lacking the likes of Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, Steven Gerrard

and Jack Wilshere. All 25 members of the squad are expected to meet

up during the latter part of this evening at their Hertfordshire

base before training for the first time tomorrow. Major injury

doubts surround Everton centre-back Phil Jagielka. He has a

hairline fracture of his toe which will be assessed overnight by

England’s medical staff. The Football Association, meanwhile,

confirmed Capello will be absent from his son’s wedding in Italy

because of the clash with the Spain game. Capello’s youngest son,

36-year-old Pierfilippo, is tying the knot with his partner,

Tiziana, in Milan. It was originally intended that the

England-Spain match would be played on Friday evening, but the

friendly was put back a day as Barcelona – who provide eight of the

Spanish squad – are in action this evening against L’Hospitalet in

the Copa del Rey. Capello’s wife, Laura, will be attending the

wedding ceremony. England host another friendly international

against Sweden on Tuesday and Capello has no plans at present to

return to Italy in between the two games.