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By ESPN Staff

Bruce blasts Capello's Bent claim

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce has hit back at Fabio Capello's suggestion Darren Bent's move to Aston Villa has aided his England cause.

• Bent: Villa move helped England hopes

Bent, 27, completed a £24 million switch from Wearside to to Villa Park last month and scored his second senior international goal in the Three Lions' 2-1 midweek friendly victory in Denmark.

The former Sunderland striker later revealed Capello had told him the transfer had helped his England chances, a claim which did not go down well with Bruce, the man who paid an initial £10 million to take him to Wearside from Tottenham during the summer of 2009.

"That's a frustration for us all and it is hugely disrespectful if he has said those sort of things," Bruce lamented. "Darren Bent scored 24 [Premier League] goals for us and played an unbelievable season, and yet didn't go to the World Cup, so I find that a harsh statement.

"The big problem with all of that is the geography of where we are. It's very difficult to come and watch any people at Sunderland, especially on their own patch.

"It doesn't happen very often. Usually managers of international teams are watching us away from home, and sometimes that's a bit difficult for the players as much as anything else.''

Speaking prior to the Denmark game, Capello claimed Bent had improved as a player in the three weeks he had spent at Villa.

"I overlooked him (Bent) for the World Cup because he was not as good as he is at this moment,'' Capello said. "I have been twice to see Aston Villa. They are playing completely differently from Sunderland.

"For Sunderland, it was important for them to go straight for the goal. Before Bent was only playing for the box. Now, he is a player who can play for the team. This is important. When I choose the player, I choose him for the team.

"When I speak with different managers about their players they know something more. All the managers told me Bent is a fantastic player in the box, but not outside. I told him that he had to change. He had to work a lot, press a lot.''

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