The thing I enjoy about football is the freedom to express yourself
on a stage and in front of people. - David Bentley
The idea that Bentley is the new Beckham is an old refrain, but worth revisiting after his move to Spurs.
We're set for an exicting English Premier League in the coming 2008/2009 season, what with all these teams loading up with talent from across the globe. The trade that caught my attention was the Bentley to Spurs deal, as Bentley is a player that's at a stage where he's either going to be a star or someone who should have been. He's be Beckham or a could have been, not a bust, but he had so much potential.
Tottenham Hotspurs is one team that's done their fair share of trading in the off-season in the EPL. They have lost Robbie Keane (wish they would have kept them) and maybe Berbatov, but gained Dos Santos, Huerelho Gomes, and Modric. And now, they've added Bentley and the Russian Arshavin might just join the team too. Spurs have grown into one of my favorite teams, but with Keane gone they lose a lot of their energy, can Bentley replace Keane and duplicate his enthusiasm?
Bentley is perhaps the up and coming star of the English national team and maybe even the EPL itself- he's shown signs of being a star but never truly has come into his own and broken out like a Cristiano or Messi. Bentley thinks he needs to play with a bigger team and get back to playing on the bigger stage. He started his career with The Gunners remember - so he's pleased to join the Spurs and start anew.
Speaking of Arsenal, an interesting part of the Bentley trade lies in the finances of the trade, and that's the Bentley deal will also add to Arsenal's coffers. As they wisely have a clause in Bentley's contract that if he was ever traded they'd receive 40% of the deal - so close to $10 million dollars. Not a bad slice of the pie.
It's long been said that Bentley is the new David Beckham. He has the flashy style of play and appearance, but no trophies just yet to put him on the same plane. He has said he is going to take over for David Beckham in the England side, take his position - he doesn't lack confidence. He's said he respects Beckham but he wants his spot - he's stated that clearly and confidently. For Beckham however, he still wants to add to his total caps with England and maybe play in one more World Cup. Becks isn't ready to leave just yet even though some have written him off now that he's playing in Hollywood.
Both players started out with big clubs, Beckham with Manchester and Bentley with Arsenal respectively. And the commonalities don't just end there, Bentley is a lot like Beckham in a number of ways. Although he's a bit skinnier and can beat people on the dribble, whereas that's not really part of Beckham's game. But overall, the two could be brothers, below are some common traits:
He’s confident in his ability
Scores free kicks with style
Has the good looks and is a bit of an attention seeker
Not sure about the tattoos but I'm sure he's got some and he can always catch up to Beckham as Beckham has ten years on him
Makes decisions that some might not agree with at times (has said he was addicted to gambling for a time when he was in poor form on the pitch)
If he wasn't a professional footballer he's said he like to be a rock star
Bentley, like Beckham, also has a bit of a love hate relationship with English fans and press. He was jeered when he came on for England in a European qualifier because he withdrew from the U21 squad citing fatigue. However, after that, many questioned his desire to play for his country in general after he pulled out of the youth tournament.
Bentley has had stints at Norwich City and Blackburn Rovers of course, where he begin to come into his own. The sky's the limit really for this player. He scored a hattrick against Manchester United at one point. He’s not afraid to take players on and can whip in a cross like his older Los Angeles Galaxy playing fellow Englishman.
Most importantly, he's got the swagger and flair that draws in fans and lifts players around him. A player like Bentley adds an energy to a club, a desire, a striving for success that becomes contagious - much like Robbie Keane did. I would like to see him continue to take players on, to beat them on the dribble. England could use a player like this, Joe Cole and perhaps Steven Gerrard are the only English players with a bit of flair.
The question remains though, can he help lead a team to a title? Does he have the professionalism of Beckham or say a Ryan Giggs? At just 23 years of age he's got plenty of time to become a star and end up in LA married to a Spice Girl in ten years just like Becks. You never know.