Hughes backs Bentley for England success
Blackburn manager Mark Hughes has backed David Bentley to succeed as David Beckham's permanent successor for England. Rovers host Everton on Saturday with Bentley buoyed by the news he was named in Fabio Capello's first England squad, while Beckham was overlooked having not played a competitive game since November. Bentley already has two caps having come off the bench in the Euro 2008 qualifier against Israel in September and the November friendly against Austria. But with Beckham left out, Bentley now has a chance to impress and his club boss is confident the 23-year-old midfielder can hold down a place in the England side. 'We're delighted for David and we feel it's been the result of consistent performances over an 18 to 24 month period,' said Hughes. 'He's consistently hit a level that's enabled him to shine in games for us and when he's been involved with England squads before. 'What we hope now is that he's going to get an opportunity to start games (for England) and if that's the case, we have great confidence that David will be able to make the right-hand side of England's midfield his own. 'He just needs that opportunity and if he starts games then people will see the quality that he can offer.' Bentley has scored eight goals this season and the former Arsenal trainee's recent form has helped Blackburn go on a six-match unbeaten run in the Barclays Premier League. That run has pushed Rovers back into contention for European qualification and they go into tomorrow's game in eighth place, just five points behind fourth-placed Everton. While Blackburn's recent performances have not been as fluid as Hughes would have liked, the Rovers boss is glad to be back in the hunt for Europe - perhaps even a Champions League place. 'We're very much on target,' he said. 'People seem to forget we haven't been beaten for six games in the Premier League. 'They possibly viewed the performances in those six games rather than the results, but it's a results-orientated business and at this stage of the season, it's all about results. 'The top four is a possibility but we are realistic in our aims. We've been in Europe the last two seasons and if we can get into Europe again, that's a huge achievement for us given the amount of teams in and around us with the same ambitions and the resources they have. 'We haven't got those resources, that's why we feel great pride in what we're trying to do and the level we've been able to achieve.' Blackburn held fifth-placed Aston Villa to a 1-1 draw last week and Hughes is looking for another positive result against one of their rivals for European qualification. Having won five games out of 12 at home, Hughes knows his side must improve at Ewood Park if they are to harbour serious ambitions of breaking into the top four, although he recognises Everton will be a tough proposition. 'It's a key game for us and we had an important game last week as well,' he said. 'We were able to put in a good performance and stop Villa getting some points, and that's something we need to do against Everton as well. 'They're playing well at the moment. They're rock-solid defensively, as most David Moyes teams are, so it'll be difficult. 'But we need to get our home form going. We've been disappointing on occasions at home and I think this is a great time for us to really kick on. 'We've got 14 games left and we need to win a high percentage of them if we're going to get into Europe.' Ryan Nelsen remains out with a hamstring problem while Aaron Mokoena is still on Africa Nations Cup duty.