Darren Bent and Ashley Young: future of England? (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Apparently Fabio Capello has a vendetta against Sunderland. The England manager told new Aston Villa man, Darren Bent, that his switch to claret and blue would increase his chances of playing in the Three Lions kit. And, as any of us with a memory that stretches back just two days will remember, Bent took that chance and ran with it, scoring the opening goal in England's match against Denmark and combining with Ashley Young to create numerous chances.
Capello puts on a great front when it comes to the Villa, professing to love the club, even calling up five players to the midweek friendly. But when it comes to competitive matches, the manager tends to leave Villans either at home or on the bench. Will Bent really be able to establish himself in the England squad, or will he be stuck watching from the sidelines?
It may depend on how Bent and Young combine. The duo were impressive as a unit in the second half of England's match, and having them playing together week in and week out can only make the England squad better -- should Capello choose to think of them as a pair, rather than individuals. One of the reasons Bent came to Villa was to play with the likes of Young and Stewart Downing. Villa fans will get firsthand experience of the way these players link up together, see it all come together as they figure out one another.
And if Capello is wise, England will benefit as well. One of the reasons Spain was able to win the World Cup was the fact that a large core of their players played together at the club level. Fielding a club-based strikeforce at the top of an England lineup could be one of the smartest moves Capello's ever made.