David Bentley

At various stages of his career, former England footballer David Bentley was described as ‘a great talent with a big future’ and, albeit rather optimistically, as the ‘new David Beckham’. However, in a career dogged by a serious gambling addiction and a perceived lack of commitment, particularly as far as the England national team was concerned, Bentley never really fulfilled his potential for club or country. He did win seven senior international caps for England in 2007 and 2008, finishing on the winning side five times, but started just once, in a friendly against Switzerland at Wembley Stadium in February, 2008. In June, 2014, Bentley tearfully announced his retirement from professional football live on Sky Sports, admitting that he ‘fallen out of love with the game’.

Predominantly a right-sided midfielder, Bentley made his one and only Premier League appearance for Arsenal in a 1-1 draw against Portsmouth at Fratton Park in May, 2004. He spent the 2004/05 season on loan at Norwich City, who were relegated from the Premier League on the final day of the season, and the start of 2005/06 season on loan at Blackburn Rovers. After a successful loan spell at Ewood Park, Bentley signed permanently for Blackburn Rovers in January, 2006. He made an immediate impact, scoring a hat-trick in a 4-3 home victory over Manchester United in February, 2006 and went on to score 13 goals in 88 appearances for Blackburn Rovers.

In July, 2008, by which time his England career was nigh on over, Bentley signed for Tottenham Hotspur. He scored just twice in 42 appearances for his new club, but his most memorable contribution was a spectacular, dipping volley from 43 yards in a 4-4 against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in October, 2008. From 2011 onwards, Bentley spent time on loan at Birmingham City, West Ham United, FC Rostov – in the Russian Premier League – and Blackburn Rovers, again, before being released by Tottenham Hotspur in 2013.

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