Former England striker Darren Bent has admitted that he had a chance to join Preston North End back in the summer of 2018.
PNE had just missed out on the Championship playoffs in Alex Neil’s first season in charge.
This felt like the time for North End to really kick on and back Neil to go and crack the top six – but it never happened.
That summer felt like such a missed opportunity, especially as striker Jordan Hugill wasn’t really replaced months after a huge move to West Ham United.
Ex-Premier League hitman and current pundit Darren Bent now claims that he did actually have an offer from PNE.
Bent had left Derby County and was coming off the back of a loan spell at Burton Albion in which he scored just twice in 15 games.
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Bent was a Premier League star with Charlton Athletic, Tottenham Hotspur, Sunderland and Aston Villa whilst also picking up four goals in 13 England caps.
The former striker officially retired in 2019 but didn’t kick a ball again after the end of the 2017-18 season.
Ironically, Bent’s final professional appearance came in a 2-1 defeat against PNE at Deepdale.
Bent has now told TalkSPORT that he had an offer to join PNE after the expiration of his Derby contract in 2018.
Bent just didn’t fancy it though and after going through a pre-season with Burton, he decided to call it a day.
“I just fell out of love with it,” said Bent. “I went and did a pre-season and thought ‘no’, it was with Burton and my contract had finished at Derby, I was thinking about what to do and I had a few offers.”
“A couple of Championship sides at the time, I think Preston was one at the time. I had a big injury at the start of that year, I basically took a penalty and ripped all the ligaments in the side of my knee and in the end I just thought ‘no’. I enjoy what I do now and I’m incredibly lucky to be sitting in this seat, so in my head, I made the right decision.”
“I see some players that just go from club to club to club, hanging on for dear life – I didn’t want to do that,” he added.
Fair play to Bent here; we have had a few hangers-on at PNE in recent years and Bent knew the right time to step away.
Rather than take the easy money at North End, Bent stepped away from the game and now seems very happy in the punditry world.