Bad attitude or badly treated at White Hart Lane?

It’s fair to say that Tottenham winger David Bentley hasn’t had the best of loan-spells at Birmingham City. This is somewhat endemic of the course of his career over the last two-or-three seasons. Despite early promise, he’s very much on a downward trajectory at the moment and it’s difficult to see how he’s going to pull himself out of this slump. The difficulty is increased when you read about his throwing a strop before Birmingham City’s Premier League game with Wolves.

The 26-year-old is alleged to have stormed out of the grounds and drove off after discovering that he had not even been named amongst the substitutes for Sunday’s big game. This kind of attitude will only have managed to infuriate Blues boss Alex McLeish who has not been able to witness Bentley playing his best football whilst at Birmingham City. It’s unclear whether this is due to a lack of motivation, match-fitness or ability.

I for one don’t believe that it’s due to a lack of motivation. When you’re playing for a team that’s scrapping it out at the bottom of the Table to avoid relegation, anything less than 100% effort is not tolerated by your team-mates. The likes of Lee Bowyer and Barry Ferguson are no doubt keeping tabs on Bentley and ensuring that he’s giving his all for the Birmingham cause. Moreover, Bentley’s time at City represented an excellent chance for him to put himself in the shop window and perhaps attract a more established Premier League club. To this extent, Bentley has failed spectacularly.

It’s a real shame considering the promise he showed early in his career. He impressed as an Arsenal youngster but ‘attitude problems’ and a gambling addiction forced him to move on. It was when he joined Blackburn in January 2006 that his career really began to take off. In his first season at the club he guided Blackburn to a sixth-place finish and European football. In his next season, he added goals to his game (many of them absolute scorchers) and seemed to be developing nicely. After another season at the club, Bentley began to state his desire to join a bigger club.

Thus on 31 July 2008, Tottenham Hotspur agreed a deal with Blackburn to sign Bentley for £15m. Although his time at White Hart Lane can hardly be labelled an unqualified failure, he certainly hasn’t justified that incredibly large transfer fee.

It strikes me that Bentley just isn’t Tottenham quality – particularly now Spurs are seeking to establish themselves as a top-four side. Bentley simply doesn’t have the character or ability to add anything to Harry Redknapp’s squad. He’s the sort of player that would still probably be quite good if he were playing week-in, week-out at Blackburn, but has damaged his career by making a move to a bigger club.

As things are, however, he’s got the wrong attitude and has failed to capitalise on the promise he showed early in his career. He’s wildly overrated and Spurs would be lucky to make back even half what they originally spent on him.

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