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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Dec 30, 2007

Hughes: Bentley can drive England revival

Blackburn manager Mark Hughes is backing David Bentley becoming an England regular under new boss Fabio Capello.

Bentley was outstanding in the 2-1 victory against Derby at Pride Park, scoring once and having a hand in the other goal.

It led to Blackburn securing only their second win in 10 league games to reignite their hopes of a place in Europe for a second successive season.

Hughes said: 'David was excellent. Not only did he show his ability, he worked extremely hard for the team.

'He was one of our main players and hopefully his form will grab the attention of the people in charge of England.

'David is good enough to be a top international player - he just needs a chance to prove it.

'We would like him to be in England sides, not just squads. But that is down to the people concerned and David to continue in that form.'

Matt Oakley had given bottom club Derby the lead in the 27th minute from close range but the turning point of the match came when Steve Howard missed a glorious chance of extending their lead.

He saw his penalty blocked by Brad Friedel and that was the spark Blackburn were looking for.

Roque Santa Cruz pulled them level in the 38th minute from the rebound after Benni McCarthy's shot had been parried following a cross from Bentley.

The winger put Blackburn ahead four minutes later with a rasping drive from 25 yards.

Former Bayern Munich striker Santa Cruz has now scored eight goals in five games and Hughes said: 'It is no coincidence he is in form because of Bentley's contribution. They are feeding off each other.

'Roque has been a great addition. When we bought him points were made about his fitness levels and whether he would be able to score in the Premier League.

'His record was not that great but there were reasons behind it. He had been in and out of the team. Now he is having a run of games and is benefiting from that.'

Hughes was pleased at the way his team responded after going behind to Oakley's goal.

He said: 'I am delighted to get a victory as we have been on a run of results that have hampered us.

'Historically we are always better in the second half of the year and we are back in the mix (for Europe).

'It was an important win for us. Had we taken our chances we would have won a lot more comfortably.'

Derby manager Paul Jewell was furious at the way his team folded following Howard's penalty miss.

He said: 'We went to pieces after that. I understand why because confidence is low but we have got to do better than that.

'You could almost guarantee we were going to concede a goal pretty soon after that.

'Then we gave another one away - they were two very poor goals.

'Some of the things that went on, especially defensively, beggars belief.'