Ex-Tottenham and Arsenal winger chats to Off The Ball about the career and title race
A couple of years ago, David Bentley dropped into Off The Ball to talk about the reason why he was cutting short a career that took him from Arsenal to Blackburn and Tottenham to the England national team.
Today he was back in Dublin and dropped in for a wide-ranging chat with Ger as he reflected on his career and the decision to retire from football at just 29.
He revealed that he'd "always planned in my head that I wasn't going to stay in football that long".
But he also talked about the managers that were in charge of him, starting with Mark Hughes who he regarded as a positive influence while at Blackburn Rovers.
"He was a good guy. He just let me be. He didn't try to do anything with me," he told Ger, adding that Blackburn felt a perfect fit.
As for Arsene Wenger, it was the Frenchman who brought him through at the start of his career at Arsenal, right in the middle of the Invincibles era.
Picture by: Joe Giddens / EMPICS Sport
"It was daunting," he said of training with that first team as a 16-year-old and also recalled that his youth team position never matched up with the ones he was fielded in as a senior pro throughout his career.
"I was the guy in the hole. I only played on the wing when I played in the Premier League. I never played as a winger in any of my youth teams. I never developed as a winger. I used to think what a boring job that is being on the wing, and then I became a professional and had to run up and down the wing," he said, adding that he would have been more used to the Bergkamp role and that technical players got pushed away from the centre by teams in that time.
Ger Gilroy and David Bentley
And he feels that technical and "enjoyable" aspect of football has gone now in comparison to the pre-late 90s years.
He also spoke about how his former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, who had loaned him out regularly in his final years at Spurs, tried to resign him when he took over at QPR, which Bentley says "I thought it was a joke".
"He was fun, I always got on with him," said Bentley of his relationship with Redknapp though, who had been unhappy when Bentley playfully tipped a bucket of water over him on live TV while celebrating Champions League qualification in 2010 - something which hadn't been Bentley's idea initially.
"He wasn't happy and maybe it was because he had a nice suit. He kept going on it was an Armani suit," he said.
On the current Premier League title race, he would like to see Tottenham or Leicester City win it and said he'd "hate it" if Man City come out on top in May.
"If Man City win it, I think it will be terrible for the league. I think it will officially be the worst season ever because they've actually won it playing useless," he said.
But while the perception is that this season has been exciting, Bentley queried that assertion and thinks it has been a "poor league this year".
Former Arsenal and Spurs midfielder David Bentley was at Dublin’s Irishtown Stadium today promoting live coverage of his former clubs’ crucial Premier League clash on the Setanta Sports Pack this Saturday at 12.45pm. It’s a Super Saturday of sport on the pack with UFC 196 McGregor V Diaz also exclusively live and three games in the Allianz Leagues also featuring. To subscribe go to www.setanta.com.