David Bentley’s ambitions to be England’s first-choice right-winger at the 2010 World Cup will probably lead to his exit from Blackburn. Bentley has begun discussing a new contract with Blackburn but says his top priority is playing regularly in Europe, something that is not guaranteed with Blackburn next season.
“It’s a big decision in my life at the minute. I want to play European football, I want to play at the top of my game. I want to go to the World Cup in two years and I want to be starting – so sometimes you have to make strong decisions, we’ll have to see what happens.
Time will tell over the next few months what will happen. I’m speaking to Blackburn at the minute but you never know in football what’s going to happen.”
There’s no shortage of confidence in the Blackburn player though:
“I’m in the early stages of my England career. I’m going to have to work hard, it’s up to me to take the position. There’s a lot of good players in this country. But if I perform then I believe I can take it, so we’ll have to see.”
In the one England game I’ve seen him play (the one against Switzerland), Bentley improved as the game went on and finished on a high note, with his runs and passing adding a new creative dimension to the England setup.
His downfall might be that he’s engineered to be the all-rounder – not as fast as Shaun Wright-Phillips or Aaron Lennon and not as good a crosser or passer as David Beckham, but good enough in both areas to start for England.
I also doubt that moving to a big club will give him a better chance at an England call-up, although the added European exposure would certainly help. With Arsenal having rejected him and Manchester United and Chelsea not reported to be interested (although if he moves to Manchester United he’ll be a good backup for Ronaldo), Liverpool and Everton (or even Tottenham) may be his best options when it comes to regular European adventures. And even then, a man of Bentley’s ambitions would not be content with just playing in the Uefa Cup – if he wants to be considered good enough to start for England, he will probably need to prove himself in the Champions League first.
And speaking of hard decisions – he might just make the leap abroad to a Champions League club in Spain or Italy where the pace may suit him better.
So where do you think David Bentley would move to – one of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United or abroad?