Curbs backs Bent display
By Paul Higham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Alan Curbishley insists Darren Bent played well on his England debut.
Alan Curbishley insists Darren Bent did himself proud on his senior England debut against Uruguay, while also pressing Luke Young's international credentials.
The 21-year-old was given a start at Anfield by Sven Goran Eriksson, but was quiet throughout the game and did not manage to get on the scoresheet.
The former Ipswich man wasted a fine second half chance when heading wide from a good position, and many people believe he has also wasted his chance of going to Germany.
However, his Charlton boss Curbishley insists Bent did as well as he could on his debut - and even blamed other England players for not spotting the passes to play Bent in on goal.
"I have looked at what some of the so-called pundits have said but for me if you look at the bigger picture he made some great runs and was in some good positions if he had been played in," said Curbishley.
"I'm convinced if an opportunity had arisen he would have finished it - and I know that in training he did ever so well.
"He showed everybody his movement, his pace and his appreciation and if one or two players had elected to pass instead of shooting we would have seen a different reaction to his game.
"And I don't think there have been too many centre forwards who have been given their England debut playing up there on their own because that's how it was for the first half, with Wayne Rooney dropping off. There wasn't a lot of space for him.
"He did as well as he could have done with the amount of service he got. There is a lot of football still to be played and Darren just has to keep going."
Curbishley also backed the claims of another of his players for the World Cup, saying Young's versatility should get him a seat on the plane to Germany.
"Luke can play left back. He played the majority of his games for Tottenham before he came to us at left back and is comfortable there. He can definitely play there and I'm sure they know that.
"I do expect him to be in the squad because he is natural cover for Gary Neville and can play at left back or anywhere along the back four."
Young has been linked with wanting to move away from The Valley, but the 26-year-old insisted that he did not say he wanted to leave.
"He was at pains to point out he didn't say any of that," said Curbishley.
"He phoned me up as soon as the stories appeared. He said he was very unhappy about it and that was enough for me."
The player himself also told the club's official website that he did not say that he wanted to leave The Addicks for a bigger club.
"There's no truth in that at all," Young told the club's website.
"It's disappointing that Charlton fans might have read the paper and thought I'm not happy at the club. Hopefully now I can clear the facts up for them.
"I haven't said anything and I'm more than happy playing for Charlton. I'm captaining the side at the moment and things couldn't really be going any better for me."
Curbishley did admit though that his better players could attract the Premiership big guns come the summer.
"We have had our fair share of that over the years, like Scott Parker going to Chelsea, and it is just a fact of life," added Curbishley.
"How do Ipswich feel about losing Darren Bent to us? How do West Ham feel about half the England side no longer being West Ham players?
"The bigger clubs are always the bigger clubs and you have it all to do to keep hold of your better players. It is frustrating but we want to produce players who do fantastically well."