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Kings of Anglia Issue 10 Magazine Offer

Town star's England delight

PUBLISHED: 20:00 03 June 2003 | UPDATED: 13:57 03 March 2010

A JUBILANT Darren Bent today headed for London and a meeting with his agent.

But the teenage Ipswich striker's delight had nothing to do with the fact that he is one of the country's most in-demand stars.

A JUBILANT Darren Bent today headed for London and a meeting with his agent.

But the teenage Ipswich striker's delight had nothing to do with the fact that he is one of the country's most in-demand stars.

Bent, 19, was still in celebratory mood after he netted a late winner for England over Serbia and Montenegro in last night's Under-21 international at Hull.

The Town youngster, wanted by Southampton in a £3million double deal involving fellow teenager Matt Richards, was an 82nd minute substitute for Arsenal whiz kid Jermaine Pennant.

Just five minutes later he pounced to head the winning goal – his first Under-21 strike – and seal a hard-earned 3-2 win against stubborn, skilful opponents.

Back in Ipswich this morning, he said: "I looked at the clock and it said 80 minutes had been played, so I was beginning to think I wasn't going to get on.

"I actually started to relax and had resigned myself to not getting on, when the gaffer told me to warm up. It was obvious that Jermaine was struggling and he limped off.

"The gaffer just told me to work hard and enjoy what was left of the game, so to be in the right place to score the winner was a tremendous feeling. I really enjoyed that moment!

"Carlton Cole did really well to knock the ball across to me and I just guided my header back across the keeper and inside the far post. Every goal is a good goal, but I was really pleased with that one."

It may have been his first goal, in only his second appearance, at under-21 level, but scoring for his country is by no means a new experience for the player.

He has represented his country at various age groups and even boasted a goal-a-game ratio in his three appearances for the under-19 side.

Now Bent has pushed his claims for a place in the starting line-up when England face Slovakia in a European Championship qualifier at Sunderland in a week's time.

He will rejoin his colleagues in the North East on Thursday evening, by which time he should have a clearer picture of where his immediate future lies.

Bent added: "I am going to London to see my agent and have a chat about what direction I'm going in. It's just a general chat, not to discuss a specific move or anything like that."

Agent Jonathan Barnett last week advised Bent against a move to Newcastle, offering the view that he would not play regularly enough, and he may feel the same about Southampton's interest in his client.

Bent said: "I am happy at Ipswich and I would be happy to stay, but I am not cancelling any options at this stage. I am just waiting to see how things develop."

He enjoyed meeting up with best pal and former Portman Road colleague Darren Ambrose, now a Newcastle player, at Hull last night.

But he laughed: "Darren wasn't able to say much. He was really struggling to talk after he got a whack on his cheekbone. He had an x-ray and it was very painful.

"He wasn't too chatty anyway, because he lost the ball for Serbia and Montenegro's second goal. He was a bit down about that."

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