Football

Bent injury points to end of 'Golden Generation'

Bent faces three months out. (©GettyImages)
Bent faces three months out. (©GettyImages).

A national newspaper saw it fitting to highlight Darren Bent's season-ending injury as their back page splash on Tuesday morning, as England awoke to the news that the Aston Villa striker may miss Euro 2012.

Bent ruptured ankle ligaments during Saturday's 0-0 draw with Wigan a the DW Stadium and will be sidelined for three months, his club have confirmed.

Naturally, the 28-year-old's injury has forced him to withdraw from England's squad to face Holland at Wembley - a game in which Bent was expected to lead the line for Stuart Pearce's new look side.

With Wayne Rooney suspended for the first two Euro encounters, Wednesday evening is set to be the first of three auditions for would-be Rooney replacements, and Bent had seemingly been the frontrunner to claim a starting berth.

His absence will provide Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge or Frazier Campbell to stake their respective claims, but also provides a stark realisation of the lack of resources at the disposal of Fabio Capello's successor.

England have seemingly got used to witnessing a key player suffer a serious injury in the lead up to a summer tournament, but few would have imagined the absence of Bent would prompt such worry this year.

In 2002, it was David Beckham's broken metatarsal that dominated the headlines prior to England's trip to Japan, and a nation united in the hope that their captain would be fit take his seat on the plane.

Four years later and Rooney sustained an injury almost identical to Beckham, and the thought of being without the Manchester United striker in Germany was a serious concern.

Then there was Rio Ferdinand, who was due to captain England at the 2010 World Cup, but suffered knee ligament damage during their first training session in South Africa, which led Capello to call on the debatable talents of Matthew Upson.

So then, what do we have in 2012? Is Bent's unavailability really any cause for anxiety?

The Villa hitman clearly has impressive goalscoring credentials which, at this present time, is a precious commodity among English centre-forwards.

But this is a player who can boast only 13 appearances for his country, has never played in a senior international tournament, and has yet to have a taste of Champions League football.

It is, of course, a cruel blow for Bent, who deserves an opportunity to establish himself at international level, having been overlooked for so long.

But such concern over the plight of the former Tottenham man does provide a clear indication that England's so called 'Golden Generation' is well and truly a thing of the past.

Topics:
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