BENTLEY – THE MAN WHO NEVER BECAME BECKHAM
David Bentley was named the next David Beckham when he moved to Tottenham Hotspur but he never quite came close.
He was the first man to score a hat trick against the league giants Manchester United in the Premier League era and he was the first to score at the new Wembley Stadium for England.
He was an Englishman that was praised for dominating the Russian Premier League where others suffered bad luck. He was quite an achiever and a man of many firsts. His 40-yard volley in the north London derby stands out, but then the shocking retirement at 29 years?!
Bentley saw upclose the Invincibles’ squad in 2003 at Arsenal. He got few minutes in the FA Cup in a star studded team that had his mentor Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira. He was a very confident player from a young age and he showed so much promise.
He went on loan to Norwich City the following year. Despite the team been relegated that year, the player stood out. He flourished on his next loan assignment at Blackburn Rovers under coach Mark Hughes, who eventually signed him permanently. Bentley repaid the faith instantly with a hat trick in the 4-3 victory over United. He soared in the international scene where he scored a free kick for the Under-21 team against Italy.
Bentley punctured his international profile in the eyes of the England fans after he opted out of the European Championships in 2007. The manager Stuart Pearce publicized it and the media crucified the player.
He continued very well for the Rovers before he left for White Hart Lane. There, he flourished despite the poor start to the season until Harry Redknapp took over. The scandal happened and the inform Aaron Lennon easily took his place at the right. Following an injury to Lennon the next year, Bentley performed, helping the team qualify for the Champions League. After a few off-moments and loan spells at Birmingham City and West Ham, he soon became the forgotten man. He had a stint with FC Rostov before being released by Spurs.
Bentley was that talented player who could not manage the disciplined social media-induced modern football, so he walked away.