Saturday, 14 February 2009

What does Darren Bent do exactly?

It’s a question that’s divided Tottenham fans and one that’s been posed ever since he joined Spurs. Thanks to Darren's recent public ultimatum via the red tops where he has suggested he needs to be playing more otherwise he’ll move on, I have to ask myself (much like you might be doing) is he worth keeping? Would we miss him if he’s gone?

Ignoring the £15M price tag (that’s not his fault) you could argue Darren has not had a fair chance, a prolonged run of games, to prove his worth as a first choice striker. Statistically, he has a very decent goal to appearance ratio and has slotted quite a few of them away from home. So based on whether he can put the ball into the back of the net, you’ll find some Spurs fans defending him on the basis that he’s a striker and strikers are there to score goals.

But is football really that simplistic? Can we (or any club) afford the luxury of a player that simply knocks them in without bringing much else to the field of play?

We bought the player on the strength of his consistent performances and goal scoring record when he played for Charlton. A confident finisher who would run onto the ball. Worked a treat there because Charlton played defensive counter attacking football. Bent is far from being creative or inventive and isn’t the type of player you’d expect to see getting involved in build up play or perhaps crossing the ball in for others to feed off. Bent’s success there was down to the style of play Curbishley fashioned. He suited Charlton. So does he suit Tottenham?

If the opposition defend deep and don’t allow the space for Darren to run into, then is he ruled ineffective? You’ll find one or two people answering yes to that. But still, he scores goals, which means he must be doing something right, no?

Which finds us back to the question as to whether scoring goals is enough to warrant a first team place. Pav, Defoe, Keane and Berbatov (bless him) have more than just goal-scoring boots in their locker. All have their particular weakness/faults but arguably all of them have far more in the way of ability to get involved in games rather than become invisible until a goal scoring opportunity becomes available.

Was invisible too harsh of a word to describe him? Does he participate with good movement and solid hold up play? Is he a nuisance to defenders, digging at their heels, taking players away for others to take advantage of the opening spaces ahead?

Bent is more suited for a 4-5-1 formation and (as mentioned earlier) playing away from home where we can counter-attack when the home team are pressing. Logic here is there is more space for him to run into, bit like when he played for Charlton.

So regardless of the fact that he still has a knack of getting in amongst the goals, there are no other tricks in his locker. And even though he has never had the chance to play week in and week out as a first choice striker, even when he’s been scoring, other players have been preferred simply because they are far more involved in the game which means they bring others into it.

'I score, therefore, I am'

So is Bent is a goal-hanger? Feeding off rebounds and goal keeping mistakes. The odd scrap here or there. That’s probably not statistically fair to him, but he isn’t showing us much in the way of developing his overall play. Creating goals from nothing.

Complaining in the press isn’t going to help improve his level of performance. But he obviously believes he is doing enough.

Pavlyuchenko has put him to shame with regards to effort, considering the Russian was not fit when he signed for us, suffering from fatigue and completely alien to the English game and the country. He might not hold the ball up like a Teddy Sheringham, but he is far more convincing a team player than Darren Bent is. And he’ll get better once we get through this season and start afresh (again) next season.

Bent's whinging to the press sums it all up. Pushing aside the stats and the analysis of his all-round game, Darren Bent believes he has done enough to prove his value to the club. He has done his bit therefore believes he is immune to criticism. As far as he is concerned he has done more than enough to prove himself and there’s no need for him to do anything else.

I spoke about the culture of failure at Spurs in a previous blog entry, how losing is OK at White Hart Lane. Michael Carrick famously touched upon this when he joined Manchester United. Players – team-mates –should be competing against each other at the highest possible level they can muster up, because the better they are the better the team is:

“When you do “your bit” you are immune to criticism. A sort of collectively projected performance-socialism, where people are not only encouraged to do nothing more than “his bit” but are in fact discouraged from doing more because it makes team-mates look even worse” – Danish White (Glory

Where is the zest to be a better player, Mr Bent? Why are you the better option out of the group of forwards we have?

Shut up and play up or wave your goodbye.

Of course, the ultimate way to answer the question 'What does Darren Bent do exactly?' is with another question:

Why did we buy him in the first place?


Anonymous said...

spot on - above all, he has an overly high self opinion, talks too much and has not managed to form an effective partnership with anyone whilst at tottenham.

Anonymous said...

Comolli. Another reason to hate the bloke.

Anonymous said...

Bent is simply not good enough. Don't care about his goalscoring ratio, he bring nothing else to the game.

Anonymous said...

What a load of pillocs you lot are! what else did Lineker do except score goals?

Anonymous said...

"The Association of Real Spurs Enforcers Neutralising Antichrist Levy and the League of Lilywhites."


The Machine said...

Lineker? You cant surely be comparing Darren Bent to Gary Lineker? They are nothing alike.

Anonymous said...

Bent and Lineker are not the same types of players. Lineker was far more instinctive and energetic.

Anonymous said...

Great piece. Bent is the type of player we can do without at Spurs. Sadly there are more of these types we need rid of.

filthy said...

Keane, Defoe, Pav.

Bent wont be involved much when those three are all available for selection.

Goodbye Darren.

Anonymous said...

fact - he scores goals. and has a good ratio.

fact - his goals are never important. they are what we call "conselations". Just like it was at Charlton.

Paxton Yid said...

“When you do “your bit” you are immune to criticism. A sort of collectively projected performance-socialism, where people are not only encouraged to do nothing more than “his bit” but are in fact discouraged from doing more because it makes team-mates look even worse” – Danish White (Glory

That's a perfect way to sum us up.

Anonymous said...

"He came to us when Henry left... Eddie, Eddie!

He scored more goals than Darren Bent... Eddie, Eddie!

He broke his leg but he'll be back, and Darren Bent will still be cack...

Eduardo da Silva, Arsenal's number 9!

spooky said...

I'm with the gooner on this one.

Anonymous said...

He's our most consistent goal scorer this season. He's vital.

Kalar Azar said...

I would argue that Bent did have a decent run in the team in that he was on the pitch throughout pre-season and well into the start of our season too.

Unfortunately, as soon as we started playing premier league opposition he was proven rather ineffectual. Yes, he has scored some goals, but this article makes him sound like he scores all the time and, I'm afraid to say, that for a large part of our season he did nothing of the sort. Hence the fact he ended up back on the bench. If you don't score, you don't play.

I think he has no right to be outraged by the fact that Harry brought Defoe and Keano back in. We need them. Our overall goal scoring record proves this and I, for one, don't trust Bent to score enough goals to keep us in the premiership.

If he wants to go, let him go. I won't be weeping.

Anonymous said...

Not sure Spooky is suggesting Darren was prolific, just that some Spurs fans seem to use that as a reason to defend him.

Anonymous said...

You're not a soldier. You're a studenty socialist playboy wanker.

Ron Paul Pwnz N00bs said...

The only point I'm arguing is:
He doesn't do much other than scoring goals in terms of setting up other players, taking on 5 players and scoring, etc.

My retort:
Filippo Inzaghi, Gary Lineker.

Ron Paul Pwnz N00bs said...

And by "He" it could be anyone, I am in no way debating whether Darren Bent is anything like either of the aforementioned strikers.

I am just saying that they were some of Europe's finest strikers in their day.

spooky said...

Anonymous said...

You're not a soldier. You're a studenty socialist playboy wanker.

14 February 2009 22:51

You know me so well.

Ron Paul Pwnz N00bs said...

How is scoring while working as little as possible and relying on your anticipation and awareness of the game socialist?

Sounds like that's as self-interested as it gets to me?

Dexter said...

Bents complaining is a joke . Not self awareness about how little he actually does for the team. He's scored one or two goals boo hoo. We've re-signed Keane and Defoe because he isn't good enough. There is nothing clever or valuably to his game.

Ron Paul Pwnz N00bs said...

Oh and Darren Bent hasn't scored 1 or 2.

He has scored 9 in the league. The same amount Robbie Keane had at this time last year in what was Robbie Keane's best season of his life.

Ron Paul Pwnz N00bs said...

you completely missed the point.

1) I said my argument has nothing to do with Darren Bent

2) I am talking about on the field awareness, positioning, etc. not in any way related to comments by a Darren Bent

TerraBilal said...

Yes i firmly believe Darren needs a crack of the whip (on your butt) but at charlton in division 2 instead of making masked threats @ Spurs. Last week Mr Bent wrote in an artical that he realised that he was missing chance after chance,then what does he do? Play a stinker against Arsenal. i cant believe the cheek of that Man he is not a good player by any bodys standards. What has he ever done except go backwards in he one dimenional game. Keep your mouth shut unless you really can play,. After just one game Spur fans where purring over the new lord of White Hart Lane namely Wilson Palacios so as fickle as the Spurs fan are they respect talent "which you dont have".
Sorry my son but the game is up for you shame "our Arry" didnt swap you for Akinbyeyi because at least he has his mustles you dont even have that. You really have no shame in your game bro just leave without a wimper that shows us how much character you really have shame on you Brother Shame !!!!

Kalar Azar said...

You miss my point or maybe I didn't explain myself properly.

My point is that Darren Bent has no right to complain about being left out of the squad or down the pecking order when he is in such bad form.

Fair enough he came on and scored a couple the other day, but it is so sporadic and inconsistent that he can't be relied upon as a certain match winner.

IMHO he should not be complaining until he picks up his game or until we manage to work around his style of play and, seeing as the latter is not really a desirable option for us (especially at this stage in the season), he should be happy with his lot until he actually shines for us again - as in his pre-season campaign.

landells said...

I find it weird that so many people are happy to believe the article 100% - he gave the interview to the Sun! Yes, there are a lot of quotes in there but I'm sure the Sun have no qualms about taking a sentence said at one part of the interview and sticking it into another segement that then changes the entire context. I also find it weird that people are getting upset about him saying he will consider leaving at the end of the season if he aint getting his chances but if it wasn't for a severly underperforming Pav and an injured Defoe they would've been quite happy to see him bugger off in the Jan transfer window. The majority of clubs and fans demand 100% loyalty from players but don't seem to think it should work both ways

But with that said...

He's the kind of player who against the right opposition can be a damn effective sub but certainly doesn't have enough in his game to justify a regular starting spot (but at the moment I'm not sure any of our strikers can truly claim that they have). I do wonder if Harry and his crew are trying to coach him to be a better all-round player but I also wonder if he has a strong enough football brain to be able to adapt his game

spooky said...

Which all ties up well with the question.....why did we spend £15M on him in the first place?

Surely if we can see the type of player he is and the style of team play he is suited too, then someone on 200K (or whatever) whose job it is to scout and buy should have worked out that he wasn't worth the valuation.

But then I guess our policy is partly based on the time old tradition of 'buy the player of the moment for a ton of money' ethos.

Anonymous said...

I didnt read the other comments because I couldnt be bothered, so apologies if this point has been made, but Darren Bent is truly a one trick pony.... But scoring goals isn't a bad trick is it?

Anonymous said...

Bent frustrates the life out of me. He has no backbone or bollocks. Do your talking on the pitch; look like you want the ball, you know where the goal is and actually hit the target more often the skewing your shots / hoping you get tackled. Then H will put you in the side. As for the comment in the press, if another club comes along with 10mil it'll be a cheery bye from me.

landells said...

spooky said...
"Which all ties up well with the question.....why did we spend £15M on him in the first place?


But then I guess our policy is partly based on the time old tradition of 'buy the player of the moment for a ton of money' ethos."

* * *

Sadly that would seem to be the way that particular piece of business was done:

"He's English! He's scored loads of goals! The Spammers want him! We've got to get him!"

"But I can't see how he'll fit into the way we like to play the game and I can't really see what he offers beyond scoring a goal or two"

"But he's English! He's scored loads of goals..."

(repeat to fade or until the cheque book comes out)

Ron Paul Pwnz N00bs said...

Darren Bent is 6th in the league in scoring.
23 appearances, 9 goals.
You guys absolutely baffle me.

He's no Diego Maradona, but who exactly do you plan on replacing him with?

Roman Pavlyuchenko 20 Apps/3 Goals

But he is coming off the end of the Russian season and is adapting to the English game so the comparison is not fair.

This is Darren Bent's 2nd season with Spurs and he is 25 years old.
So I will compare him to Robbie Keane in Keano's 2rd full season with Spurs when he was 25, and that would be the 04-05 season.

Darren Bent has 14 goals in 30 appearances.
Robbie Keane had 16 goals in 41 appearances.

Darren Bent has 9 goals in the league so far.
Robbie Keane had only 3 at this time in 06-07.

The only criticism I'm hearing is, "He only scores goals"

I have never heard anything so ridiculous.

Jep said...

Jimmy Greaves had a knack of doing little in a game, then notching 2 or 3 goals out of nothing. Same players are goal grabbers and nothing else.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough Darren Bent scores goals but he is a counter attacking striker who runs onto passes and scores sadly Tottenhams shape does not fit in with his style of play. no need to compare him to Lineker he was a totally different type of striker andhe required less chances to score.

Grumpy Spang said...

6th top scorer in the Premier League, 9 goals from 13 starts (contrast top scorer Anelka with 14 from _22_ starts).

Heck, if he's in bad form, imagine what he could do if he was playing well!

And if he hasn't created that effective partnership or doesn't suit the Spurs style how did he get all those goals? Geez!

Oracle said...

It's all well and good to say he is a decent player to have because he's scoring goals but he isn't exactly a great footballer. He poaches and that's great but he is far from being a player that can play in several different formations or be tasked to play in a certain way if need by - whereas other strikers we have are far more adaptable.

Anonymous said...

Bents work-rate is pathetic. If Defoe or Keane simply hanged around and waited they would score goals like Bent. He doesn't hassle anyone or bully defenders or play like a livewire. If he did, he'd probably be the countries top goal scorer.

Fran the Frantastic said...

I doubt it. If he tries playing more he probably wouldnt feed off the scraps but thats besides the point.

He is not a number 9. He is one dimensional. We've been patient with him and unlike someone like Berbatov who looks lazy (much like Fredi did) they both create and do about a million things more than Darren does.


Anonymous said...

Sorry but regardless of his faults Bent scores more per game than Keane or Defoe.

He scores goals. What else do you want exactly?

iHateGooners said...

1. As for not working with other forwards: Doesn't a counter-attacking-long-ball-poaching threat like Darren Bent stretch the defense, leaving acres underneath for Modric/Pavlyuchenko/etc?

So he doesn't necessarily need to be on-the-ball to be setting up things for other guys.

Carlo Ancelotti calls Pato the best off-the-ball player in the world because in their one forward system he draws the defense out of position, making space for their midfielders (like Ronaldinho, their top scorer) to exploit. His point was, even if Pato wasn't involved in the goal; he probably had a lot to do with it that goes unnoticed.

2. "He poaches and that's great but he is far from being a player that can play in several different formations or be tasked to play in a certain way if need by - whereas other strikers we have are far more adaptable."
In a 4-4-2, Pav or Keane is the supporting striker and Bent is on the last line. And we all know he plays that role very well.
He wouldn't be a very good centre forward in a 4-3-3 but we never play that anyway.
Even his detractors admitted he's ideal for a 4-5-1.
The 3-5-2 is dead.
He definitely wouldn't fit into a 4-6-0, but neither would Defoe.

3. The only other criticism I'm hearing is his defensive work rate. a) Did Dimitar Berbatov ever do anything defensively? and b) We're talking about a forward; we're really going to let the most potent attacker in the Prem go because of his defensive work rate?

spooky said...

Great post.

Can you tell I'm still personally divided on this argument?

iHateGooners said...

I just realized we blew so much money in the January window it was silly...
We spent more this season than Chelsea ever did in a season!!!
We have spent 102 million!!!!!!!

Palacios alone would save us from relegation.
Cudicini was free OK.
Chimbo was necessary as Hutton got hurt.

We should have stuck with Pav, Frazier, and Bent up top.

They, along with the main men who would be servicing them, Bentley and Modric, were all new to the team and scoring goals and developing an understanding with other attackers is not something that happens overnight.

Oh and on Bentley , I honestly think he should play on the left. I don't think it would take much more than letting him know that to make it into England as a right-sided player means ousting: James Milner, Ashley Young, Aaron Lennon, Theo Walcott, David Beckham, SWright Phillips; however, on the left is only Stewart Downing.

He has shown that he can cross with his left foot (I can't believe I'm bringing this up after defending Bent) but look at how he put it on a silver platter for Bent against Pompey with his left foot (Hey, I have a 10 minute video of Pele just F*cking up, missing from 6 yards out, tripping over the ball, etc. Even the greatest screw up.)

Also, he has an awesome shot with his right foot and playing from the left side provides him with more opportunities to shoot.

Wait, just as I was finishing writing that...I thought why did we ever buy Corluka?
With all the signings I would have scrapped (Defoe, Keane, Corluka) we now have 29.5 million extra to spend. I'd buy Joleon Lescott , give free bagels for one game, and invest the rest in youth.

I'd sell BAE, and let Bale learn how to properly defend from JL. Because we all know Gareth has the marauding wing-back side of things.

Now our roster looks something like:









Pav/Gio (He has played as a withdrawn forward for Mexico)


I'm experimenting with HTML tags. Can you tell?

I'm also wondering how Zokora would do at left-back, just temporary, for the rest of this season. And when you respond to that piece about Zokora, don't go on saying:
"oh his first touch is so poor"
"zokora?? are you having a laff?"
Think about who we're comparing him to: BAE, and Gareth Bale.

spooky said...

Zokora as a full-back is a better option than a Zokora in centre midfield.

Anonymous said...

How can one say that any professional footballer at ANY Premiership club isn't good enough? Good enough for you? Good enough for what? He is a professional footballer and you are an armchair critic? One who more than likely works at a job they'd rather not and think that because he or she spends money to see their beloved team play that they now are experts in all things football.

Come on get real.

There is nothing wrong with Darren Bent or Didier Zokora other than the fact that you all associate them with the previous DoF and that you think that Spurs are better than what they are right now. News flash ignorant people, we are not. We are where we are because of our play and the fact that we have no consistency.

We dream of days that are far-gone. We chase dreams with money then get upset because others do the same thing. We haven't played good football since the 80s when Keith Burkinshaw ran the team. We all need to get off of our high horses and get behind the team and stop vilifying players who have a poor game or those that you believe don't fit. Those days are gone. Get behind 'Arry, get behind the players. Sing your hearts out as we always do. Our confidence as a team is low, so low that we only perform well at home where our support is phenomenal. The players need to believe we are all behind them. Look at Bent, comes off the bench against Bolton and scores 2 goals and we still rip him to bits. He does what he was asked to do, score goals. Am I forgetting something here, was he asked to do something else? I thought he was a striker. He's scored 14 goals this season in a team that has spent the ENTIRE season near or at the foot of the table.

Oops said...

"News flash ignorant people, we are not"

Thats no new flash.

Sonic Yid said...

"There is nothing wrong with Darren Bent or Didier Zokora other than the fact that you all associate them with the previous DoF and that you think that Spurs are better than what they are right now. News flash ignorant people, we are not. We are where we are because of our play and the fact that we have no consistency."

We are where we are because we sign shit players for over inflated prices.

Zokora is meant to be what? A DM? A holding midfielder? What exactly is he, because for someone who cost £8M and cant control or pass, I'd say the reason why we are so shit is because we degrade quality each season with poor decisions on transfers.

Bent has scored a few goals, boo-hoo. If Defoe was in the team from the start of the season he'd have scored a lot more and would not have been dropped. Bent is in and out because he doesn't offer enough. I don't care about his goal ratio.

iHateGooners said...

Stellar post by the Anonymous fella.

iHateGooners said...

SonicYid, you say you don't care about goal ratios; but then, you qualify Defoe as a better striker because, "he'd have scored a lot more."

Jermain Defoe has never had nearly as good a goal ratio.

Defoe only had 6 at this point in 06-07, and 4 in 07-08.
Bent has 9.

Sonic Yid said...

Defoe looks the part. Bent doesn't.

I guess that makes me shallow.

yazdaan said...

whats all the hate on darren bent? fact remains, he is our top scorer and when he is on FORM he provides us with goals and a lot of them. Who gives a shit if he brings nothing else to the game? its all about goals at the end of the day and as far as i know defoe is the only other striker we have that can provide us with goals.