Where did it all go wrong for David Bentley?

England beat Moldova 5-0 last night with James Milner playing on the right wing but things could have been so different had David Bentley lived up to his tag of David Beckham’s replacement.

The former Arsenal youngster was tipped for greatness and his attributes were similar to the former England captain with him only needing a yard to put in a cross and not relying on pace or trickery to beat his marker. But where did it all go wrong and why is he now playing in Russia for FC Rostov instead of in the England squad? He has picked up seven caps for his country and did have the talent to be a success but maybe it was his transfer to Tottenham Hotspur that slowed his career and may have effectively finished his international career.

At Blackburn Rovers he was one of their best players and even scored a hatrick for them against Manchester United which not many people have managed to do. In the 2005-06 season he helped the club finish sixth and qualify for the UEFA Cup as it was called at the time. This just shows how far both player and club have fallen away. Bentley followed this up with two more very impressive seasons, playing 97 times, scoring 15 goals and contributing 26 assists for his side and this obviously lead to speculation that he would be leaving the club and there were even rumours that he could be joining Manchester United and in the summer of 2008 he would leave the club for Tottenham Hotspur.

Just looking at the stats of his time at the North London club you can see the problem he only played 42 times in the league in his four years at the club which makes you wonder what the problem was with him because they also splashed out £15 million for him and with his experience and quality in the Premier League it wasn’t seen as a gamble. Although they may have overpaid but that is expected because at the time he was in and around the England squad so his price tag was always going to be high. Other than a few brief moments of quality, in particular his volley against Arsenal in the 4-4 draw and a couple of other goals there isn’t much to say about his time at Spurs, he just didn’t really get the chance and after his first season where he played 35 times he was always behind Aaron Lennon in the pecking order for both club and country.

He has had two loan moves in the last two seasons but neither of them have been particularly impressive, with him spending a lot of time on the substitutes bench at Birmingham City and after agreeing a season long loan move to West Ham United he got injured after only five games and returned to his parent club.

Bentley was always a player I thought highly of, especially at Blackburn where he was a constant threat but there must be a reason why it hasn’t worked out for him since and I hope he can recapture some of his form and come back to England after his spell in Russia and at least be a decent Premier League player.

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2 thoughts on “Where did it all go wrong for David Bentley?

  1. As a Spurs fan, I was horrified when we paid the money for Bentley. I’d seen him have some good moments for Blackburn but nothing that sounded him out as a “top four” player (which was Tottenham’s aspiration at the time). I was not surprised to see him struggle when his lack of pace was combined with a lackadaisical on-field approach. Say what you like about Beckham, but he’s never rested on his laurels and has covered over his limitations of a player through his hard work, belief and positivity.

    That no one wanted him beyond Championship teams and a Russian side that, I have to be honest, I’ve never heard of, speaks volumes (according to Wikipedia they had five head coaches last year).

    He seems a decent fella but he’s one of those players that values himself a lot higher than others do. Unfortunately for him today’s game is no place for inconsistency and that is unfortunately why Spurs and Birmingham wouldn’t play him.

    • I think that is a great point about Beckham what made him so good was not only his ability but also his workrate and that is sadly missing from Bentley’s game. I think another thing that stopped him progressing was he didn’t seem to be interested in playing any other position than right wing and versatility is a big thing in today’s game. It is still strange though how far someone with seven caps for England can fall

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