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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Rolls-Royce mechanical check needed on Bentley

A recent report in the EFT Chronicle:

'Off the production line into the public, the Bentley David model has been called into question due to a recent concern. Rolls Royce have said they were not aware of any issues regarding the model, released from a North London source to Lancashire on a permanent basis for services in relation to Blackburn Rovers Football Club, and are currently looking into calls for concern regarding a recent statement the model is not performing nationally due to fatigue.

'Experts say this could be due to a lack of understanding by the model as to its expected availability once it is called into service. One loanee, Stuart Pearce, has expressed his annoyance the model will not perform due to tiredness. Having received it on loan from Blackburn boss Mark Hughes, Pearce informed EFT Hughes spoke to him to say the model may seem run down and could require a break from a needy journey to Holland, and as such the club would prefer the model was not utilised at all. Mr Pearce declined to waive the loan and was incensed to consequently find the model was reluctant to perform none the less.

'Steve McClaren, Pearce's line manager, had taken the model on his travels to Wembley and Tallinn in Estonia but did not need to use it owing to having other senior models at hand. Pearce said: "I had an inkling when Mark Hughes spoke to me on Wednesday and said he wanted to pull the [model] out, but I said 'no' as I didn't find that acceptable.

"From my point of view to say I am disappointed is a massive understatement."

I am beginning to understand David Bentley more the more I hear from him. While his performances for the U21s' and Blackburn have been good, he appears to have a huge soft spot for the national senior side. Don't they all? Yet the likes of Scott Carson, David Nugent (who came on against Andorra and scored), Nigel Reo-Coker, Matt Derbyshire, practically any player in professional football who qualify want to play for England. But the glory is not being in the side, it is making a telling contribution game in, game out. Charlton's Luke Young spoke of the fear of being on the bench, much less on the pitch coming off at half time, when the England fans booed and jeered at the seniors against Andorra. Is Bentley prepared to handle situations like that? If being in the senior squad is all that counts, my answer is no.

He was ready and available to play for the seniors against Brazil and Estonia, was on the bench and didn't feature, mainly because David Beckham had two good games, a better one in Tallinn, and was replaced by Kieron Dyer. What if McClaren prefers experienced players? It is not the playability that counts alone, maturity and thinking on and off the ball, how you apply the ball in given situations, may all count when selecting the first XI. Perhaps Bentley is content to be on the bench, as certain players are picked regularly anyway and Beckham has returned, however debatable that particular point is.

Yet to turn around after coming back from the qualifier and saying you "owe a lot to the Blackburn fans too and they are paying the money to watch me week-in and week-out" is poor mitigation. What does he think the England supporters of the U21s' are doing? He continues:

"I've never come off a 60-game season and then gone straight into another one, I was alien to it. I love playing for England, I love my country; every time I step out on the pitch I give my all for anyone I play for. If you look at my under-21s career I have never not given my all for it. I had three decisions; the club could have pulled me out, I could have pulled myself out or I could have faked an injury.

"Sometimes I get labelled with this arrogant (tag), that I just sort of toss it off now and again. It wasn't a rash decision, I asked senior players at England 'what do you feel like come October or November?' They said 'you hit a brick wall'. They also said 'if you want to be firing and you want to make a push for the European Championships next year then I really think you have got to think long and hard'."

So, what are the implications from Bentley's decision? He said he could have withdrawn from the U21s' squad, Hughes could have done it for him or he could have feigned an injury. It is the last option that would have been preferable for UEFA will only allow an exchange of players for that reason and none other. The deadline for squad names has passed so Pearce is now one player short. I would look for Bentley to conspire with Pearce to fake the injury and allow the exchange. Then again, Bentley said he is an honest lad. Pearce has stated:

"....I spoke with David and he said to me on the back of a long season - and possible burn-out next season - that he would like to pull himself out of the tournament. I tried to say to him and explain the situation, 'Where does that leave you next summer if you get in the full squad and have a full season? 'Do you say then you would be fatigued for the next season?"

My count says Blackburn had 53 games last season unless pre-season friendlies are included too and I'm not sure how long Bentley missed games due to suspension, though I sense he was suspended for the Arsenal game at home and the Man Utd game away. If the senior players said they hit a brick wall in October and November, they need to better their stamina. Talk like that has no room at the top clubs in the EPL, otherwise someone else comes in to take that space. Bentley believes not playing in the U21s' European championship will leave him in better shape to be available for the senior tournament, does he not consider that having recommended he plays in the tournament, McClaren could simply overlook him as he cannot evaluate Bentley's performance? Where does that leave the other U21 players, do they now refrain from the tournament because they want to be in good shape for consideration for Euro 2008?

I think Bentley's omission from the U21 squad will have an adverse reaction rather than a positive one. He requested it in order to be in good physical condition for consideration for Euro 2008 selection but in not partaking in the tournament has left McClaren nothing to evaluate his performance on. The Germany friendly is on August 22nd, the qualifiers thereafter are on 8th and 12th September, a month into the new season. With the league games potentially suspended on the weekends prior to due to the international matches (maybe not for the Germany friendly), that is about three or four league matches to evaluate on. Aaron Lennon should return by then and with Kieron Dyer second to Beckham, Bentley stands little chance of that which he has sacrificed to achieve. Particularly if he feels prone to a mechancial breakdown.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

mostly fair comments ...however all of the senior squad now have 5 or 6 weeks off....and all of the U21 squad (except Blackburn's Derbyshure) will have 4 weeks off after the tournament ....Bentley will EVEN NOW only have 3-4 weeks off..if he had taken part ..only 5 days off !! (Blackburn report back for training early due to Inter-toto cup)...please realise that he has to play against all of these players next year and also that he is competing for a place in the senior squad against them all ...
Just a few facts ..Bentley has played almost all of the 90 minutes of most games this season whereas most of the U21 squad and even many of the senior squads have not ...he has been Man of the Match many times for the U21 team (the late Great Alan Ball and a certain F Zola singled him out as a potential future international star) ...and again MOTM at the England B game..he shouldn't need to prove to England that he is good...just look at the Actim official Premier League statistics ..he finished 29th out of ALL players ..above many of the full squad...look at the Opta statistics ...he made more crosses than any other in the Premier League..despite McCarthy scoring all of their goals ..Bentley was voted Player of the Season by the Blackburn supporters (it's not always that easy to assess a player from 45 seconds on MOTD)
...anyway it's a shame that this has all come to a head like this but I really hope that in 12 month's time we can all watch him playing in a Real tournament

regards ..a true ENGLAND supporter

6/10/2007 6:49 pm

Blogger T said...

Really good stuff Redsman and good to get the Blackburn perspective, thanks anon. Im glad you wrote about this Redsman because I was somewhat dismayed when I heard this news on Friday.

For me, I really like the way Bentley progressed last season, and as a Gunner I kind of feel now that we let him go too prematurely. He is a natural successor to Beckham- has excellent technique, good workrate, and supplies a mean cross. I remember reading about Bentley years ago and how from a young age he modelled his game on Beckham... and he has done a good job of it.

But he has let himself down in my opinion - let alone his under 21 teammates. It is a terrible precedent to set- imagine if all players felt they had the license to deselect themselves from national duty once being called up.

I also believe experience of an international tournament against peers is valuable to a young player as it allows the development of a tournament mindset. Bentley is going to miss out on this. Plus, if he were part of a tournament winning side his stock surely would have enhanced further in the mind of McClaren- while surely now the opposite is true because by dropping out he casts himself badly as someone that disregards his teammates.

And who are these experienced players who apparently were advising Bentley to drop out. They should be named and shamed.

All in all I hope to see Bentley have another great season for Blackburn and continue his development into a fine player. But I also hope that he soon makes a clear apology to his under 21 teammates and admits that he should not have taken the decision he did.

6/10/2007 9:09 pm

Blogger T said...

By the way, enjoyable opening to your post Redsman!

6/10/2007 9:11 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Thanks T and Anon. Despite the comments of Anon I still feel Bentley was wrong to pull out. Footballers are fit athletes, they training regularly and are aimed at following a strict diet to ensure their physicality is obtained at its peak fitness. I have never heard of a player pulling out in the way Bentley did and when he speaks of wanting to play for country so much I find it staggering even more.

Professional football is competitive, very, very competitive. If you look to stay off from playing for whatever reason, you can find your place is filled quickly and in some cases permanently. When did Bentley develop this sense of fatigue? After Pearce had entered the squad names, too late to bring in another player, and after he has accompanied the senior side to two matches?

He would have played in those two games for 90 minutes if need be. His handling of the matter was in my opinion as I stated above. I couldnt complain of tiredness if I was, it is not as if players do not get their moments of rest. My perception is Bentley wants the limelight of the seniors. Had this been a Liverpool player, I would be appalled.


6/10/2007 10:17 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bentley should hang his head in shame the way he has gone about this. he calls himself a professional and gives his all for country and when his country calls he has a excuse. You serve queen and country for the marines then the SBS call you you say "Im exhausted from my marine duty so excuse me from the invasion in IRaq" you get laughed out the armed forces mate. Bentley's a disgrace and should stop grinning like a Cheshire cat so much.

6/13/2007 10:55 am

Blogger EL said...

Ask any football fan this question:

If you had to lose either international football or domestic football forever, which would it be?

I've yet to find one person who's choice is the latter. Domestic club football not only pays the players yearly wages but offers a broader focus of potential trophies than the international game. Domestic football also allows time for players to develop close-knit relationships with team-mates and forge a solid & consistant team. Something the national game has often struggled with.

I personally have relatively little passion for international football beyond it being something to keep me from being bored during every other summer. Can't help feeling that if I were a player, I could happily pass on an England opportunity for the sake of being 100% matchfit & uninjured for my club side.

But maybe I'm just a pinko traitor?

6/13/2007 11:48 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

It's the domestic football that leads to being chosen for the national side, so in effect giving up the domestic football would end the international football, no player would chose the latter. If it's an aim to play international football it is almost like how Anon (10.55AM) said, you dont choose when you play. If it isn't for you, then you inform of your preference not to play for country. Bentley wants to choose when he wants to play and it does not happen like that in professional football.


6/14/2007 9:18 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

I've got to mention at this point, as I watch the England U21s against Italy with 12mins remaining, how I am disappointed with their second half. They look tired, especially Nugent who has come off, and the Italians are picking at their fatigue to level the game. They could have been further in front.


6/14/2007 9:19 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

England have been naff since Bentley left, best player against the Italy at Wembley and no one came on to help on the right that could do it better than Bentley so if he donesnt play anymore for the U21 team its their loss. He loves the Rovers more than that lame bunch, proves Hughesy is a top manager. you think he's a disgrace, we think he is tops and he can do without England,thank y-ou very much.

6/16/2007 2:49 pm

Anonymous Nturtle said...

Great into there Redsman! HAHA! vs country again! Unless you are close to is in my opinion disappointing to see youngsters "pull out." As Redsman notes in his is club footy that elevates you to International level...not the other way around!

Ah well...egos abound...and Bentley has always been strong headed in that regard...he could still be at Arsenal providing us width...but I'm sure he has a chance now to prove ALL his decision making about his career turns out ok! We shall see! In the minds of fans's hard to forgive contributions to your national team!

6/19/2007 1:33 am

Blogger EL said...


I would question redsman's assertion that players are 'elevated' to international level. The point I tried to make earlier was that international football is hardly an elevation from the top domestic leagues worldwide. Aside from maybe the top 4 or 5 national sides - England not being one of those to my mind - international teams vary wildly in quality, whereas domestic competitions tend to be much more evenly competitive and with a higher level of quality throughout. Far more time is spent by players with their domestic sides, so consitancy and quality is much more apparent. I wouldn't want to hammer my knackered body having a stab at the ramshackle world of International football, and risk not being fully match fit and sharp or worse, injured at the start of a new premiership season.

I'd say international football elevates to the English, Spanish and Italian leagues(maybe a couple of others) and those leagues elevate to the Champions League.

Playing for Engerland is a step down for premiership players in all but the mind, but some it seems haven't had their minds fooled.

6/20/2007 4:12 pm

Blogger EL said...

Redsman the point I was making was that all football supporters I've spoken to on the subject prefer the domestic game to the national one. In fact, due to the past few years of England under-performance, especially when it mattered, a number of friends view the international scene as a bit of a comic sideshow. I don't know that many people who get as intense and nervy over England matches as when watching their domestic clubs. Surely it shouldn't be too surprising to find that a few players feel the same way? Especially over the 'B' side!

Good article by the way.

6/20/2007 4:30 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Thanks El. I get your point that the domestic football is more appealing to some, or most in your opinion, than the international level, and to a degree I concur with you. It is, for me, very frustrating to watch Lampard, Gerrard, Terry, Rooney, Robinson and the others go through what I see as a monotonous routine in their approach during international games, which for me is soooo boring when we have players who get at the oppositions domestically and excite us with their play as well as the chances they set up. These players provide the core for the national side so why is it collectively they seem so restricted in their approach when your their respective domestic team they are far more rampant?

This is why England fans urge our players to achieve much more, because we know they can really play top class collectively, internationally, but somehow seem to only provide about 60-65% of their prowess. The thing is with Bentley is I sense he would rather turn out, even on the bench, with the seniors than the U21s', whereas when you are playing for England at any level, it is an honour and not one where you look to pick and choose. Bentley may well feel exhausted, though I dont agree with that. I sense he wants to be with the seniors with some desire, rather than not be with the U21s' because of fatigue.

6/20/2007 5:08 pm

Blogger EL said...

You're probably right about Bentley but I suppose what he's saying is that he doesn't want to threaten his ability to prepare fully for next season unless it involves the prestige of the first team. Not everyone is blessed with a tin hats on and over the top for queen & country perspective on the place of their birth it seems.

Surely the reason the England Lads are unable to play as they do in the premiershhip is simply because creating a team is about chemistry, and chemistry takes time, which domestic teams have in abundance but national teams don't. I wonder how the winners of the last world cup would fare against any of the top 6 teams from the top 6 domestic leagues in the world?

Not that impressivly I'd guess.

6/20/2007 6:20 pm


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