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Bentley says there was a ‘stigma’ around him in England.
“I think there’s a big stigma around me in England. The picture that Tottenham painted of me was so wrong.
“I’ve heard a lot of managers ringing players up and saying, ‘I’ve heard he’s trouble.’ The players then tell me about it, but by then they had decided not to sign me.
“Someone had to be telling them that, because it’s just not what I am like.
“It’s time for a fresh start – get rid of those shackles and get away from England for a while to go to somewhere to be judged on what I can do on the pitch rather than something that’s completely wrong about me.”
Bentley admits to making mistakes in his career and says he regrets publicly declaring his desire to leave Blackburn ahead of his Spurs move.
He added: “I really regret leaving Blackburn the way I did. Coming out publicly saying I wanted to leave was a mistake. But so much has been said about me which is wrong.”
Bentley believes his role in the infamous UEFA Champions League celebration, which saw several Spurs players tip a tub of water over former boss Redknapp live on Sky Sports after securing a European place in May 2010, proved costly to his career.
He said: “It was all good natured. But he definitely didn’t see it like that. It was a celebration and nothing more.
“That season, I’d played 20 games up until that point and we got into the Champions League. I’d started 15 games in a row and, even though I didn’t start that game, we were just celebrating a brilliant achievement.
“He never said anything to my face about it – he didn’t really ever say much to me at all – but I knew I was always up against it after that. I hardly got another look-in.”
The midfielder, who has spent time on loan at Birmingham and West Ham but has been hindered by injury, was disappointed not to be given a chance under new boss Andre Villas-Boas at Spurs but is relishing the new challenge of playing Russian football.
He said: “I thought the new manager (Andre Villas-Boas) might give me a chance but there’s probably been too much water under the bridge already.
“Now I’m going to Russia to show it’s all about football.
“I want to push myself, try something new and get back to where I was. I still believe in myself. I’m buzzing about playing again and that’s something I’ve missed so much.”
SOURCE: Sky Sports
And here we were thinking that the only reason David Bentley wanted to move to Russia was to source a supply line of cheap vodka for his bar in Marbella…
In all seriousness, these are encouraging words from the one-time England winger, who seems intent on getting his career back on track and has gone to the extreme lengths of a loan move to Russia in order to do so.
But questions marks over Bentley’s attitude will remain. The former Blackburn midfielder reportedly infuriated Fabio Capello so much with his lax-attitude at one England training camp that the Italian vowed never to call him up again.
As for the Harry Redknapp drenching incident, judging from the video, Bentley was equally as responsible as Wilson Palacios and Jermaine Jenas, and given that all three players were marginalised by Redknapp, perhaps he has a point…
With the right attitude and fitness, Bentley remains a fine player in the David Beckham mould. Fans will argue that he’s had his chances and blown them time and again but, in reality, Bentley has also been desperately unlucky with injuries.
It’s a shame that he’s unlikely to be given another chance at White Lane Hart. With Gareth Bale on the left, Scott Parker snapping at heels centrally and the classy Moussa Dembele on board, a Spurs midfield with Bentley on the right would be similarly balanced to Man United’s legendary quartet of Giggs, Scholes, Keane and Beckham.
Russia will not be an easy place to make an impression but it’s a league with a growing reputation and an increasing number of star players. Now is the time for Bentley to show what he’s made of.
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