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Player Of The Last Ten Years Poll, Round One: Darren Bent Vs Kenwyne Jones

Two very different but equally formidable strikers go head to head in today's Greatest Player Of The Last Ten Years poll, but will a bitter departure harm the chances of Darren Bent, or will his prolificness overcome crowd-favourite Kenwyne Jones?

Matthew Lewis

Darren Bent

Many will only remember Darren Bent on Wearside for the acrimonious end to his career at Sunderland.

One day on from a disinterested, lethargic display - in the derby with Newcastle United, no less - Bent handed in a transfer request, scarpered to the Midlands and holed himself up in a hotel until we agreed to sell him to Aston Villa. Classy.

Yet, on the playing field at least, it would be hard to dispute Bent's prominence as one of the better players to pull on a red and white shirt in the past decade.

It takes something special to get close to Kevin Phillips' scoring ratio at Sunderland, yet Bent managed to be within a whisker of it. 32 goals were pilfered in just 58 league appearances - a stunning return at top level football, particularly in a side that perennially struggles in the lower half of the table.

Bent was not, in any sense, a great footballer. His hold-up play left plenty to be desired, he was unlikely to search deep for the ball and play in teammates, while any prolonged spells of possession on his behalf often made him look somewhat clumsy.

What he was - a remarkably prolific goalscorer - made up for it. Countless times, Bent would pop up in the right place at the right time; it reached a point whereby onlookers needn't even wait for the net to bulge, so sure was his finishing acumen. He scored against pretty much everyone: Bolton Wanderers, Chelsea, Hull City, Burnley, Wolves, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Portsmouth, Everton, Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham City, Tottenham Hotspur, Colchester City, Manchester City, Newcastle United.

Darren Bent's career at Sunderland may have met a miserable end, but only a fool would deny that, from a purely playing perspective, he was an outstanding striker for the club. (CW)

Kenwyne Jones

Whatever you think of John Terry - and I'd hazard a guess a lot of it is negative - he was once a top class central defender who has not only played against but also with some of the best centre forwards in the world.

This is supposed to be about Kenwyne Jones not John Terry I hear you cry. Well, the former England captain once said of the Trinidad international, "Jones was fantastic and I have played against him twice now. He is a very good player. Very hard working and probably the best in the air in the entire Premier League. He really is that good." This is as good a place to start as any.

The quote is from 2008, when Terry had a teammate playing up front by the name of Didier Drogba and in that context, it is high praise indeed.

Add that to the fact Jones' goals that season played a massive part in keeping Sunderland in the Premier League and it's no exaggeration to say he was worth every penny of the £6m shelled out on him by Roy Keane. (CC)



Be sure to make your vote count and send one of these two through to the next round. Make your voice heard below, because you only have until 11pm (GMT) tonight to get your vote in...

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