Friday, August 1, 2008

Bentley's all grown up

"Hopefully they want to see characters. They don't always go just to watch the football, they'll come to abuse me. I'll get the banter but I'll enjoy that. You don't to have a boring life as a footballer. If you don't get a buzz off that's probably where you fail."

- David Bentley, anticipating his first north London derby

David Bentley gets off on abuse.

I don't have that kind of personality and I must admit, I've always admired people who have. It must take a great deal of self-belief to listen to all those insults and just laugh it off as good fun. Then again, I guess a footballer's wage helps cushion the ego.

Bentley's done the obligatory "I've been a life-long supporter of X" interview, but something about it rings true. Bentley doesn't seem like a guy who would suck up for the sake of sucking up. He sounds like he's really, really looking forward to shoving it up us Bentley-detractors. He wants to show us that he warranted a place in the Arsenal first team when he was younger, and he wants to show us what we've been missing.

It's going to be really strange for all parties. David Bentley was hailed as the next big thing at Arsenal, and I'm sure spent a lot of his teen years anticipating future matches against Spurs. He would've imagined lining up with Henry and Cole, Cesc and Reyes, and being part of a dominant Arsenal side. He would probably have expected to be a first-teamer for England, as well. Back in the early 2000s, all that would've been a distinct possibility.

It's gone a bit pear-shaped since then.

Well done to Bentley for making the England squad, for forging a Premiership career and for signing for a reasonable sized club. He's always had the talent, and he's making the most of it now. I'm not sure about everyone else, but I regret his departure. I wish he'd waited at Arsenal, because he would be a quite handy player to have around. He's probably not as good as Nasri, but less injury-prone than Rosicky and better than Walcott.

Tottenham have a lot of creative players now. Bentley, Giovani dos Santos, Luka Modric, and possibly Arshavin and Pavlyuchenko, give them quite a threatening side. And Ramos is a very good manager who's had six months to observe how English teams play. So it'll be interesting to see how they'll go next year.

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