When David Bentley played for Man United's opponents FC Rostov

Ex-Arsenal, Tottenham and Blackburn Rovers midfielder had a brief spell in Russia

David Bentley,

David Bentley. Picture by John Walton EMPICS Sport

On Thursday evening, Manchester United will look to further their Europa League ambitions with a positive result away from against FC Rostov in the last-16.

The main headlines have been dominated by the state of the Russian side's pitch and Jose Mourinho's withering assessment of it.

It's a pitch that an ex-Premier League midfielder once graced - albeit all too briefly.

Back in the 2012-13 season, former Tottenham, Arsenal and Blackburn Rovers winger David Bentley spent a short-lived loan spell at FC Rostov, becoming the first Englishman to play in Russia.

It was also the same period in which Ireland winger Aiden McGeady was still plying his trade over 1,000 kilometres away in the Russian capital Moscow with Spartak.

Back in March 2016, in a chat with Newstalk's Team 33, Bentley touched on aspects of his career including the options to play abroad including offers from Spain and the FC Rostov experience. 

"I was 27-28 when I went there," said Bentley of Rostov, "A good experience. It opened my eyes. It was an amazing experience."

In all, Bentley made seven league appearances in the Russian Premier League and one in the Russian Cup between the summer of 2012 and January 2013 when Tottenham sent him on 93-day loan to his former side Blackburn.

FC Rostov gave him ample game time on the right flank with starts against Dinamo Moscow (his only league victory with the club), Zenit St Petersburg and McGeady's Spartak among the fixtures he was directly involved in. 

He also contributed to set piece duties given his dead ball ability.

Off the pitch, in an interview with BBC, Bentley also spoke of the preconceptions about life in Russia that were blown away once he arrived in Rostov and got a taste of the lifestyle, describing it as a "nice surprise", although given the short-term nature of his move, the language barrier still existed.