Darren Bent considered international retirement
Darren Bent considered retiring from international football after failing to secure a place in England's World Cup squad, and has accused manager Fabio Capello of only including him in his 30-man preliminary squad as a "token gesture".
Bent travelled to England's pre-tournament training camp in Austria but played only 45 minutes against Japan and was not one of the chosen 23 taken to South Africa, where England performed to a disappointing standard before being knocked out by Germany in the second round.
The Sunderland striker scored 24 goals in 38 games in the Premier League last season and felt his prolific record forced Capello to name him in his initial selection. Bent's subsequent disappointment left him questioning his international future.
"I felt that I was taken to Austria as a token gesture," Bent told The Journal. "It was as though he [Capello] decided he had to take me because of the goals I'd scored.
"He took me to the training camp, gave me 45 minutes and because I didn't score two goals, that was it. It hurt. I can't deny that was how I felt.
"I had long conversations with my dad and my manager. I just felt I was only there to make up the numbers. I thought 'should I just call it a day with England and hang up my boots in international football?' I contemplated it.
"If I couldn't get in the squad after scoring so many goals in the Premier League that season..."
But Bent still hopes to be a part of the England set-up for the European Championship qualifying campaign, even if his honest account of his disappointment is unlikely to impress Fabio Capello.
"You can't burn your bridges like that," Bent said. "I hope it is going to be a meritocracy. A few people have said to me that I've jumped up the pecking order after what happened over there, but who knows?
"People are saying this is going to change and that is going to change, but how much can it? All I can do is keep going, keep believing in myself and keep scoring goals.
"I'm not going to give up on England because of what happened this summer. I'm going to keep working hard, keep playing well for Sunderland and keep knocking on that door. That's all I can do."