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When a big money move went wrong : David Bentley to Tottenham

DavidBentleyIf £20m to re-sign Robbie Keane is enough to make Spurs fans wince, then the idea that the club has spent £15m on winger David Bentley is probably enough to send them over the edge completely.

To be fair to Tottenham, when Bentley signed for the club most critics felt it was a shrewd move. The former Arsenal man had proven his Premiership pedigree in a season on loan at Norwich City and three years with Blackburn Rovers during which he had created 31 goals, scored 22 and had impressed the then England manager Steve McLaren so much that he had been labelled “The New David Beckham”.

When Mark Hughes left Blackburn in the summer of 2008, Bentley was quick to reitirate his desire for a move to a big club. Manchester United were reportedly interested in the wide man so it was seen as something of a coup that Spurs, then managed by Juande Ramos, managed to agree a £15m deal (plus £2m based on appearances) for the Rovers star.  This would be the move that proved Bentley would thrive on a bigger stage and see him push on towards becoming Beckham’s eventual successor in the England team.

It would be fair to describe Bentley’s initial impact at Spurs as erratic, but showing promise. He scored in the UEFA Cup against Wisla Krakow and then scored an incredible 40 yard dipping volley in a 4-4 draw with rivals Arsenal. Despite his slow start Spurs fans were still hoping Bentley would come good and prove he was worth his large price tag and that he may help the club away from the foot of the table, where they found themselves in November 2008.

It’s probably unfair to suggest that Bentley’s decline at Spurs started when Harry Redknapp took over, but certainly since the arrival of the former West Ham boss, Bentley has found himself surplus to requirements and has shown a somewhat disappointing attitude towards the club that would make Redknapp consider him for most games. To compound matters still further, Spurs winger Aaron Lennon has been in outstanding form for the past 14 months or so and has not only ousted Bentley from the Tottenham squad, but is also now well ahead of him in the national team managers thoughts too.

Bentley is a complex character, he has admitted to having a gambling problem in his early days as a professional at Arsenal, he then controversially pulled out of the England U21 squads for the European Championships in Holland in 2007 citing fatigue, a move which saw him roundly booed by many England fans when he made his full debut for England against Israel in a Euro 2008 qualifier. While at Spurs he has incurred the wrath of manager Harry Redknapp on two occasions, once for not taking a behind closed doors game seriously (for which he was dropped from the matchday squad entirely) and once for going on an unofficial club Christmas party outing to Ireland along with several other team mates.

It is perhaps Bentley’s somewhat resigned attitude towards his time at Spurs that irks most fans. He has talent, but it seems he doesn’t want to apply himself to earn a place in the side. It appears to many, that he has accepted he will never be in Harry Redknapp’s plans and is now playing solely to secure a move away from the club as soon as possible.

Sunderland and Atletico Madrid may offer him that chance in January and for Spurs fans, that day may not come soon enough.

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Article title: When a big money move went wrong : David Bentley to Tottenham

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