David Bentley: Why the "Boo Boys" Were Justified

Liam CraddockCorrespondent ISeptember 13, 2007

David Bentley came on as a late substitute for England in last Saturday's match against Israel...and was met by a chorus of boos from the Wembley crowd.

Anyone who followed the England U-21's exploits in the European Championships will know exactly why Bentley received such a hostile reception.

Withdrawing from the squad due to "fatigue," Bentley let down his teammates and his country in order to selfishly advance his own senior England career.

But did his absence actually benefit him?

In their last game, England faced Netherlands for a place in the final. England led for 51 minutes before a last minute equaliser took the game into extra time, then penalties.

There were some fantastic tries and great saves from both sides, but England were ultimately beaten 13-12.

Every England player learned an important lesson from that single game—never mind the whole tournament—about what it means to be part of a team.

I wonder if David Bentley felt like a team player watching the game alone in England.

I also wonder if, lacking this kind of experience, he'd be able to hold his nerve if he were to face the same situation in his England career.

Steven Taylor was forced to take a penalty when he could barely walk on a badly twisted ankle...and scored emphatically. He did that for his team, as every player on that park did it FOR THEIR TEAM.

I'm not denying that David Bentley is a quality player—but it takes more than quality to make it on the International stage. You're not an individual in any football match, you're just another cog in what should be a healthy machine.

If David Bentley isn't a team player, he doesn't deserve to have an England career.

D'you know what I'd say to Bentley? Same thing they told him at Wembley: