David Bentley’s withdrawal from the England U-21 squad is understandable, and I think there’s a very good reason why Bentley walked out.
Simply put, he has his eyes on Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup. Bentley knows that he has an outside chance of making the Euro 2008 squad, but he can only do that by excelling for Blackburn next season. However, come 2010, Bentley will either be at a club bigger than Blackburn (making the progress to the senior England side easier) or would be an established squad member for England – at least that how the theory goes.
Stuart Pearce is quite justified in feeling angry at Bentley, especially since he’s withdrawn so late – but there’s not much he can do about it. Mark Hughes has come out and defended his player, as is expected, but for Hughes it’s always going to be a good decision to give one of his star players a rest during the summers.
Personally, I don’t think Bentley’s withdrawal will change things too much – the U-21 side has plenty of quality in it to push through and win without Bentley’s contribution (although his presence would definitely have made things a bit easier).
What’s more interesting, at this point, is David Bentley’s future at Blackburn. He’s an ambitious kid and definitely sees himself as a future England star. How long before he reaches the conclusion that he needs to move to a bigger club to make his spot in the national team more certain?
So here’s the question for today: Will Bentley leave Blackburn this summer? And if he does, what is his most likely destination?