David Bentley was the man who drenched Harry Redknapp in the celebrations immediately after Spurs sealed Champions League qualification for the first time in their 128-year history. “I ‘ope he’s happy at his new club,” Redknapp joked as he tried to dry off.
Wisecrack or not, Harry was speaking for the rest of the civilised world whilst suggesting that Bentley’s future almost certainly lies away from White Hart Lane. His time with the Londoners has not been a productive one and he will probably be best remembered for fashioning the most ridiculous facial hair over anything he has done on the pitch.
Bentley was expected to play a major role following his much-hailed arrival from Blackburn two years ago but the 12 starts he made for Tottenham last season would appear to be a rather pitiful return on the £15m investment that was made to secure the 25-year-old’s signature.
His sporadic first team involvement has been mainly due to Aaron Lennon’s ongoing injury problem and his teammates have started to affectionately refer to him as ‘Judge’ due to the inordinate amount of time he’s spent sat on the bench.
It wasn’t always like this. Bentley carved out a reputation in Arsenal’s youth sides as the new Dennis Bergkamp. Wenger wasn’t sure though and so after not being given any kind of run in the first team, he spent time on loan at Norwich and then Blackburn. He was reasonably successful at Ewood Park prompting Mark Hughes to move quickly and bring him in on a permanent deal. His form and occasional goals for the Rovers earned him an England call up and the comparisons with David Beckham began flooding in.
That’s where the story ends really. He has a decent right peg but not much else. He lacks the speed and invention of Aaron Lennon and is shy of the tackle making him a bit of a luxury for Tottenham if he is only capable of sticking in a couple of decent crosses, showboating with fancy flicks and back heels and sending wild long-range efforts over to the other side of the Thames.
He has acquired all of the bad qualities in Beckham (petulance and laziness) without possessing many of the good ones. He will never shake off his reputation as a ‘big time Charlie’ unless he starts to get stuck in and stops worrying about messing up his haircut.
Most fans will accept to a certain degree that a player is overrated or underperforming but it is Bentley’s attitude that stinks. He is a one man band who more often than not will go for the spectacular over playing a simple ball on the floor to one of his teammates. His goal against Arsenal was a cracker but he can’t live on that memory forever.
He must swallow his pride and accept a move to the lower reaches of the Premiership if he to actually play any football. A transfer away from Tottenham this summer would give him the chance to resurrect his faltering career and achieve notoriety for something other than drink-driving.
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