Darren Bent set to miss season run in and Euro 2012 due to ruptured ankle ligaments
ENGLAND are facing a crippling shortage of strikers ahead of Euro 2012 after Darren Bent was ruled out of the tournament with ruptured ankle ligaments last night.
The Aston Villa striker, who sustained the injury to his left ankle during Villa’s draw with Wigan on Saturday, visited an ankle specialist in London where he was told he will miss around three months.
That would rule him out until the end of May, with the finals getting under way just over a week later in Poland and Ukraine.
Villa said in a statement: “Darren faces up to 12 weeks on the sidelines having ruptured ankle ligaments in his left foot in the game against Wigan and he is unlikely to play again this season. Dr Ian McGuinness and the Villa medical staff have been liaising with the England medical team about the extent of his injury.
“Darren will undergo a further examination in seven days to determine the need for an operation.”
It is a crushing blow for Bent, who has never played in a major tournament, having been overlooked for the 2006 and 2010 World Cup squads.
Writing on his Twitter site, the former Sunderland forward said: “I’m gutted to be out for so long at such a crucial part of the season. Hopefully my recovery will be as quick as possible.”
Bent’s injury means England’s next manager will face an immediate selection headache over which strikers to take to the tournament. The 28 year-old is far from established at international level, with four goals from 13 appearances, but whoever replaces Fabio Capello is hardly blessed with a surfeit of striking options.
The forwards in caretaker manager Stuart Pearce’s squad to play Hollad in Wednesday’s friendly at Wembley — Fraizer Campbell, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck — have only a handful of caps between them while Wayne Rooney is suspended for the first two matches of the tournament. It means the likes of Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch and Bobby Zamora could all come back into contention for a place in the 23-man squad.
If Bent’s injury appears to leave England’s chances of impressing this summer in an even more precarious state, Holland defender Johnny Heitinga believes the damage has already been done by Capello’s decision to quit. Everton’s Heitinga believes that the sense of turmoil created by Capello’s departure so close to the Euros will hamper England’s chances.
“Without a manager, it is harder for them,” said Heitinga. “There are still four months to go to the Euros to find a manager, but you have to say Capello did a good job because he got them qualified.
“Their squad is still full of quality. I would still be wary if we meet in the Euros. They have a good team — but then again, so do Holland.”
Meanwhile, Scott Parker was lastnight voted Vauxhall England Player of the Year by the national side’s supportes.