What Has Happened to David Bentley?

Ben OakfordContributor IJune 16, 2009

It doesn't seem too long ago that David Bentley was the next big thing, a product of the famous Arsenal youth academy who was another deemed "not quite good enough" to play for the Arsenal first team, despite taking his chances, notably scoring a stunning hat-trick against Southampton, only to be upstaged by Robert Pires.

Here we have a player likened to Dennis Bergkamp, who, for all the God given talent he is blessed with, doesn't appear to have the right attitude. Under the strong stewardship of Mark Hughes at Blackburn he really began to fulfil his undoubted potential, pin point crosses of the David Beckham genre, with an impressive work rate and someone who was quickly becoming the darling of English football, the heir apparent to David Beckham, it was beginning to look as those Wenger had made a huge mistake, and then suddenly Mr Bentley's ego decided to join the equation.

Considering himself to be too good, or in his words "too tired' to play for the under 21's at the last World Cup finals, he somehow managed to seriously damage his career before it had ever began. Going from David Beckhams' apprentice, to not even be selected for the squad shows how far his star has fallen since joining Tottenham.

A 15 million pound transfer to potential top four challengers Spurs, and a host of interested clubs, including Atletico Madrid, appeared to be the beginning of the next step for young Bentley. However it just hasn't really worked out.

Bentley slipped down the pecking order, unable to claim a starting berth in a wretched Spurs side, despite the arrival of Harry Redknapp. Glimpses of ability, like the goal against Arsenal, show that the talent is still there although it may be dormant, and his career can be rescued but he needs the right stewardship, surroundings and the desire to play.

Martin O'Neil and Aston Villa seem the perfect solution. An experienced man manager with a sterling track record and somebody who has introduced that all-envious English spine at Villa. Playing alongside English players like Ashley Young, Agbonlahor, James Milner, Curtis Davies, Luke Young etc, can only strengthen team spirit, and the addition of another ultimately promising English player can only bode well for both interested parties.

However it is time for Bentley to grow up, step into those almost unfillable boots of David Beckham, and play football. If he can go anywhere near to recapturing the form he had at Blackburn then Villa are in for a determined, talented, and exceptional footballer, assuming he feels like it!