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David Michael Bentley (born 27 August 1984 in Peterboroughmarker, Cambridgeshire) is an Englishmarker football who plays for Tottenham Hotspur and the England national football team. He can play in several positions across the midfield, but he has also been used as a winger. Bentley started his career with Arsenal, and despite being earmarked as one for the future, saw his playing opportunities limited by a strong senior squad. He spent two seasons on loan with Norwich City and Blackburn Roversmarker, and sealed a permanent transfer to Rovers in January 2006. Bentley produced strong performances for his new club, and soon featured regularly for the England national Under-21 football team. He made his full international debut against Israel in September 2007. In July 2008, Bentley joined Tottenham Hotspur.

Club career


Bentley started his youth career at Wormley Football Club in Hertfordshiremarker, before moving to Arsenal at the age of 13 as a forward, occasionally playing in the hole. However, as seasons went by he found himself being used primarily in midfield, usually as a wide midfielder. He was only 16 when Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger asked him to join in training with the senior squad. By January 2003, he was handed his senior debut, coming on as a substitute for Kolo Touré in the 77th minute of a 2–0 FA Cup Third Round win over Oxford United. Bentley's first goal for Arsenal, an audacious lob in a 4–1 FA Cup win over Middlesbrough in January 2004, earned comparisons with Arsenal veteran Dennis Bergkamp. He played once in the league for Arsenal, starting against Portsmouth in May 2004.

Bentley spent the whole of the next league season on loan to Norwich City, playing 26 league games and scoring two goals against Newcastle and Southampton. His season at Carrow Roadmarker was interrupted by an injury sustained in January. He returned to the side in April 2005, coming off the bench against Manchester United and playing a key role in Norwich's 2–0 win. Despite a late run of form, the Canaries were relegated from the Premier League on the last day of the season. Bentley returned to Arsenal in the summer of 2005, but submitted a transfer request, citing his desire for first team football. In subsequent interviews, he also revealed that he was having "personal problems" at that point in his career and had lost his enjoyment for football—problems which he overcame later in his Blackburn Rovers career. He later admitted he had been addicted to gambling in the early stages of his career, reaching a peak of placing 100 bets a day. He got over his problems in 2005.

Desiring a permanent move, Bentley was linked with a number of clubs including Wolves, before being dispatched on a further season's loan to Blackburn Roversmarker in August 2005.

Blackburn Rovers

In January 2006, Blackburn announced they had signed Bentley on a permanent basis from Arsenal. In his first match after permanently signing for Blackburn, he scored his first senior hat trick in a 4–3 victory against Manchester United, becoming the first player in the history of the Premier League to score three goals in one game against United. Bentley went on to feature regularly for Blackburn in the 2005–06 season, and helped the club finish sixth in league standings and qualify for the 2006–07 UEFA Cup.

Bentley taking a corner for Blackburn
The 2006–07 season saw Bentley become more of a regular goalscorer for Rovers, including some stunning strikes in the Premiership. In Europe, a 25 yard volley against Salzburg in the UEFA Cup helped secure Rovers' passage into the group stage, where he also scored a last minute winner against Wisła Kraków. Bentley's club performances attracted much transfer speculation. However, on 27 February 2007, despite being linked to a move to Manchester United, he agreed to a new contract that would keep him with Blackburn until 2011. Commenting on the new deal, Rovers manager Mark Hughes described Bentley as "a great talent with a big future" while Chairman John Williams added that he "is widely regarded as one of the best young footballers in the country." Bentley ended the season with seven goals and 13 assists for Blackburn, the latter statistic also highlighting his creative importance to the team. The young midfielder was later voted by Rovers fans as the club's Player of the Year.

Bentley recorded similar statistics in the following campaign, scoring eight goals and providing 13 assists. Blackburn finished seventh in the Premier League, but did not qualify for European competition. Bentley's consistent performances for his club, however, ensured that he played in a series of post-season friendlies for England. But that was to be the Englishman's final season with the Lancashire club. Not long after the departure of manager Mark Hughes to Manchester City, Bentley reiterated his desire to join a bigger club, and Blackburn placed a valuation of the player at around £18 million.

Tottenham Hotspur

On 31 July 2008, Tottenham Hotspur announced their signing of Bentley from Blackburn Rovers for £15 million, and up to an additional £2 million payable upon future performances. Bentley made his competitive debut on 16 August 2008 away at Middlesbrough where Spurs lost 2–1. He scored his first competitive goal for Spurs in the 2008–09 UEFA Cup first round tie against Wisla Krakow on 18 September 2008. He then scored his first league goal for Tottenham against his old club Arsenal with a 43-yard dipping volley in a 4–4 draw on 29 October 2008. Bentley's form would suffer at Tottenham, however, and after falling down the pecking order for both club and country, he confirmed on 17 June 2009 that he was in talks to move to Aston Villa. Subsequently, it was revealed by Bentley and Aston Villa that this was untrue.

The form of Aaron Lennon meant that Bentley has mostly been used as a substitute for the start 2009–10 season, although he did hit the crossbar with a free kick in Tottenham's 9-1 victory over Wigan, with the ball then going in off the back of Wigan goalkeeper Chris Kirkland.

International career

Bentley has played for the England Under-15 and Under-16 teams, captained the England Under-18 team and played for the England national Under-21 football team. He recorded eight caps and four goals with the Under-21 team, and was the first Englishman to score at the new Wembley Stadiummarker in the game against the Italy Under-21 squad on 24 March 2007.

In May 2007, following an impressive 2006–07 season for Blackburn, Bentley was called up for the England B international at Turf Moor for the match against Albania. After naming him as a starter, England manager Steve McClaren said Bentley had the potential to become England's "new David Beckham". In that match, Bentley provided the cross for Stewart Downing's first goal and was involved in the buildup to Downing's second in the 3–1 victory for England. He received the Man of the Match award for his performance. The next day, he was named in McClaren's 26-man full England squad for the friendly match against Brazil and the Euro 2008 qualifier against Estonia.

In June 2007, Bentley was called up to the England Under-21 squad for the European Under-21 Championships in Holland. However, he pulled out of the squad citing fatigue, and England Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce questioned the midfielder's commitment to the national squad. This withdrawal led to Bentley being excluded in the senior England squad for the friendly against Germany, but he was selected for the Euro 2008 qualifiers against Israel and Russia. He made his senior début when he came on as a substitute for Shaun Wright-Phillips against Israel, but was jeered by some of the fans due to his previous refusal to play for the Under-21 squad.

Bentley started for England for the first time in the friendly against Switzerlandmarker on 6 February 2008.

Player profile

When he was at Arsenal, Bentley was slated to play in the second striker role and was frequently compared to Dennis Bergkamp. While playing for Blackburn however, Bentley was deployed more frequently on the right side of midfield due to his ability to cross the ball. He was also the first choice free kick and corner kick taker for the Lancashire club.


Tottenham Hotspur

Club career statistics

(correct as of 27 November 2009)

Club Season League Cup Europe Total
Apps Goals Assists Apps Goals Assists Apps Goals Assists Apps Goals Assists
Arsenal 2002–03 0 0 - 1 0 - 0 0 0 1 0 -
2003–04 1 0 - 6 1 - 1 0 - 8 1 -
Norwich City (loan) 2004–05 26 2 4 2 0 - 0 0 0 28 2 4
Blackburn Roversmarker 2005–06 29 3 1 6 2 - 0 0 0 35 5 1
2006–07 36 4 11 7 0 0 8 3 2 51 7 13
2007–08 37 6 11 4 1 1 5 1 1 46 8 13
Tottenham 2008–09 25 1 2 5 0 0 5 1 1 35 2 3
2009–10 3 0 2 3 1 3 0 0 0 6 1 5
Career totals 208 26 39


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  31. Includes FA Cup, League Cup and FA Community Shield.

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