• Thu. Apr 25th, 2024

Record breakers Darren Bent and Dean Saunders set for battle of the captains in talkSPORT Trophy


Jul 25, 2023
Record breakers Darren Bent and Dean Saunders set for battle of the captains in talkSPORT Trophy


What does every footballer dream of winning, the Premier League? No. Champions League? Don’t be silly.

It is, of course, the talkSPORT Trophy – something only a handful of players will ever have the chance to lay their hands on.

Bent will be one of the superstars on show in the talkSPORT Trophy


Bent will be one of the superstars on show in the talkSPORT TrophyCredit: The Sun

And this exclusive prize is up for grabs on Friday when Alan Brazil’s Breakfast Team will battle it out against Adrian Durham’s talkSPORT All-Stars.

An array of ex-footballers, presenters and celebrities will be fighting it out in a five-a-side game live on Hawksbee and Jacobs and YouTube.

Captaining Brazil’s Breakfast Team is Wales legend Dean Saunders, taking the armband off Gabriel Agbonlahor in a controversial move that has stirred the camp.

And donning the armband for Durham’s All-Stars is Premier League great Darren Bent in a battle of the strikers.

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The two had fantastic careers that spanned decades of the game – but who can safely say they enjoyed their careers more?

Over the years, the duo played for an array of clubs and both had stints at Aston Villa, Derby and Brighton.

Saunders played professionally for just under 20 years, starting out at his native Swansea before joining Brighton in 1985 and scoring 14 times in his debut season.

Stints followed at Oxford and Derby where the striker rattled in goals before a high-profile move to Liverpool – for an English record fee of £2.9 million – where Saunders arguably had his best year as a professional.

Liverpool signed Saunders from Derby in 1991 and he won the FA Cup the following year


Liverpool signed Saunders from Derby in 1991 and he won the FA Cup the following yearCredit: Getty – Contributor
Dean Saunders scored twice in the final against Manchester United for Villa


Dean Saunders scored twice in the final against Manchester United for VillaCredit: Getty Images – Getty

Partnering Ian Rush up front – as he did for his country – and with a young Steve McManaman behind them, Saunders helped Liverpool win the FA Cup under Graeme Souness in 1992 – also finishing the year as the club’s top scorer.

Silverware would follow at his next club Aston Villa, where Saunders might have enjoyed his best game as a professional.

After leading Villa to the League Cup final in 1994, he scored twice in a 3-1 win over Manchester United to lift the cup before stints at Galatasaray, Nottingham Forest, Sheffield United, Benfica and Bradford.

Not a bad career at all, also add his 75 caps and 22 goals for Wales and Bent has some work to do to top that.

Much like Saunders, Bent became a quick hit after breaking into the first-team – this time at Ipswich where in his first full season he netted 18 times.

In four years at Portsman Road, the striker netted 56 times as a youngster before joining Charlton where he started to forge his reputation as a Premier League goal-getter.

Despite 31 league goals across two seasons, he couldn’t save the Addicks from relegation in 2007 and he subsequently joined Tottenham that summer for a club-record fee of £16.5 million.

This was where Bent would go on to lift the only trophy of his career – the League Cup in 2008 when Spurs beat Chelsea, though Bent played only once in the competition.

Saunders vs Bent in numbers

Dean Saunders

League appearances – 618

League goals – 190

Clubs – 12

Trophies – 3

International caps/goals – 75/22

Transfer fees combined – £10.5m

Darren Bent

League appearances – 486

League goals – 179

Clubs – 9

Trophies – 1

International caps/goals – 13/4

Transfer fees combined – £53.5m

Bent had his best season at Sunderland


Bent had his best season at SunderlandCredit: AFP
Bent won his only trophy at Tottenham


Bent won his only trophy at TottenhamCredit: AFP

After a couple of years in north London, Bent really went up north and joined Sunderland, enjoying his best year after scoring a brilliant 24 times in 38 Premier League appearances in 2009/10.

These prolific spells saw him gain a spot in the Premier League’s elite 100-club, alongside icons including Thierry Henry, Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney and Didier Drogba.

He also scored four times for England in 13 games – not quite the haul Saunders had – and he later joined Aston Villa, Brighton, Derby before ending his career at Burton.

With three trophies to Bent’s one, Saunders might argue that he had the better career.

But Bent can close down that gap by winning the talkSPORT Trophy on Friday and has some top players to help him do so.

Joining the former England international on the pitch will be Darren Ambrose, Jermaine Pennant and Anton Ferdinand.

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However, Saunders will have some exciting players at his disposal, as well, including Trevor Sinclair, Adebayo Akinfenwa and Carlton Cole.

Whatever happens, it truly will be quite the spectacle and all of the action will be aired on talkSPORT on the radio and on YouTube, including post-match interviews and commentary.

talkSPORT Trophy teams


Manager: Alan Brazil

Captain: Dean Saunders

Trevor Sinclair

Adebayo Akinfenwa

Mark Goldbridge

Ian Abrahams

Sam Matterface

Lianne Sanderson

Adam Catterall

Max Rushden

Ben Fletcher

Tony Cascarino

Carlton Cole


Manager: Adrian Durham

Player / Assistant manager: Phil Brown

Captain: Darren Bent

Darren Ambrose

Jermaine Pennant

Anton Ferdinand

Rory Jennings

Charlie Baker

Lloyd Griffith

Spencer Oliver

Alex Crook

Jimmy Bullard

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