Aston Villa's Darren Bent sets sights on Euro 2012 place

Villa Park's £24m striker is looking to go on a goal-scoring run in the hope of securing a place in the new England's manager's tournament squad for Poland and Ukraine this summer

Aston Villa striker Darren Bent has his sights set on securing a place in England’s Euro 2012 squad, but knows he will have to start banging in the goals to make sure.

The former Sunderland man started his Villa Park career a year ago with a goal against Manchester City, and is now looking to repeat what he did 12 months ago.

With Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp the favorite to take over now that Fabio Capello has left the England post, it could spell disaster for Bent in terms on his chances of selection. The striker and Redknapp have a history after the Spurs boss claimed his wife would have netted a chance that Bent spurned before shipping him out to Sunderland.

The 24 million pound man believes he is a different player since his turbulent spell at White Hart Lane and is focused on giving his club boss Alex McLeish a much-needed lift.

“I have learned to be much more confident in my own ability," Bent told The Sunday Mirror. “Since Spurs, I have kicked my career on, and now, if I am in a blip, I just get on with it, go back and watch the ­footage of games and see what I can do better.

“As far as England is concerned at the moment, I feel like the man in ­possession. Every time in the ­qualifiers that I was fit, Fabio Capello played me, even though he didn’t take me to the World Cup before that. But it’s the first day of school again for everybody, isn’t it? I feel that all I have to do is keep doing what I’m doing, play well for Aston Villa, and no one can really ignore goals.

“If I can keep playing well and scoring goals, then if Harry or somebody else is the ­manager, they will see that and pick me too.

The Villa striker also says that the problems between him and Redknapp were really nonexistent.

"To be honest, there weren’t really any big ­issues between me and Harry," he told the paper. “A lot was built off that one quote. In the next game, I scored two against Bolton. When I left Spurs, I went to ­Sunderland and did well and now, touch wood, I’m doing well here.”

The 27-year-old has bagged five goals in his last eight appearances and looks to have gotten his head down after the rumors suggesting he was set for a move to Liverpool in January.

“I’ve said for a while that I want to stay at Villa for a long time and that I am settled," he said. "I hope that now I can do it.

“To be fair, the rumors didn’t upset me because, for me, it was easy. I was the only person who knew for sure that I wasn’t going anywhere. While it was flattering to be linked with other clubs, like I was, at the same time I knew what was ­happening in my head and that I wanted to stay. I didn’t have to come out and say anything because I knew the ­situation, and the people around me did too.

“I hope it will show on the pitch with my commitment to the cause now, and long may that continue.”

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