David Bentley, the former Tottenham and England winger has announced his retirement from football at the age of 29. Sadly, it is a talent wasted. Fans at Spurs never saw the best of Bentley who was released last summer.
Twelve months ago David Bentley was released by Tottenham at the end of his contact. He had joined Spurs from Blackburn Rovers in July, 2008 for a fee of £15m. A former Arsenal player, he had moved to Blackburn in January, 2006 having been on loan at Ewood Park. He was called into the England squad during his time at Blackburn and was hailed as the “new David Beckham” by Steve McClaren. He made his first appearance as a substitute against Israel and then started his first game in a friendly against Switzerland in February, 2008.
After signing for Tottenham, the Spurs team under Juande Ramos had a horrific start to the season taking only two points from their first 8 league games. The appointment of Harry Redknapp saw an up-turn in Spurs fortunes and those of David Bentley. He scored his first goal in a EUFA Cup game in September against Wisla Krakow but is remembered for the spectacular strike in what was Redknapp’s first official game in charge against Arsenal at the Emirates. The goal put Spurs ahead in a match where they were to take a point with two injury time goals in a 4 – 4 draw.
Bentley played regularly in the team until the end of January and was a substitute in the Carling Cup Final against Manchester United which Spurs lost on penalties. Unfortunately, he was one of the players who missed in the penalty shoot-out. He made only one more substitute appearance that season and the following season was little better, as he only started one Premier League game in the first half of the season. He did manage to score in Tottenham’s 9 – 1 win over Wigan Athletic, coming on as a late substitute, his free-kick came off the bar and into the goal off the back of the despairing goalkeeper. With lack of games at Tottenham he dropped out of the reckoning for an England place.
Having fallen behind Aaron Lennon at Spurs, it was an injury to the winger which presented Bentley with another opportunity at White Hart Lane in the early months of 2010. During that time he helped Spurs into a position to claim a top-4 finish and a Champions League place in the penultimate game of the season at Manchester City. Following that match, he was one of a number of players who tipped a barrel of water over Harry Redknapp during a live television interview. The prank was not well received by the Tottenham manager.
In 2010-11, Bentley made 3 appearances for Spurs and went on loan to Birmingham in January, 2011. The following year he went on loan to West Ham but that was cut short with a serious knee injury. The appointment of Andre Villas-Boas didn’t aid Bentley’s career at Spurs and at the end of the season he was released having been on loan in Russia with Rostov and at Blackburn.
Twelve months on, having played no football since leaving Spurs, Bentley has announced his retirement at the age of 29.
Bentley has always been his own man. In the summer of 2007, while at Blackburn, he withdrew from the England Under-21 team for the European championships, citing “fatigue”.
Bentley has admitted that he has fallen out of love with football. He always wanted to enjoy the game but found it had become too regimented and tactical for a “free-spirited” player like him. In a report in the Daily Mail, Bentley described it as “robotic and boring”.
Bentley is comfortable with his decision as it will give him time to spend with his children.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Bentley said,
I have no regrets. I loved every minute of playing but the game has changed. When I first started it was the enjoyment, going in to work every day was brilliant.
The retirement of Bentley is the end of a career of a very talented player which sadly never achieved its full potential either at club or international level. He spent five years at Tottenham but started only 50 games, making another 12 appearances as a substitute, and scoring 6 goals.
Having made the decision to retire at such a young age, we wish David Bentley and his family all the best for the future.