Many footballers keep playing the game well into their thirties and well past the point that their legs have gone just to ensure that they don’t have to take the leap into the unknown that is retirement.
Not David Bentley though. Once tipped as England’s next big star and the new David Beckham thanks to his wand of a right foot, Bentley retired at the relatively young age of 29 after spending a year without a club and falling out of love with the game.
Bentley began as a youngster at Arsenal before moving to Blackburn in January 2006. As his career went from strength to strength, in 2007 he became the first Englishman to score at the new Wembley stadium whilst playing for the U21 national side and later that year he earned his first full England cap under Steve McClaren.
In 2008, still just 23 years of age, Bentley signed for Arsenal’s North London neighbours Tottenham in a huge £15m deal that came with a six-year contract. However, despite his first goal being a 40-yard volley in a thrilling North London Derby that ended 4-4, things never really clicked for the Peterborough-born man at Spurs and after a couple of temporary spells with Birmingham and West Ham he made the decision to join FC Rostov on loan.
When this didn’t work out and after another short spell on loan at Blackburn, Bentley was released by Spurs and announced his retirement a year later in the summer of 2014.
Since then though it seems that, unlike his career on the pitch, things have gone from strength to strength for the now 34-year-old. Bentley has invested his earnings into a number of businesses, including a chain of restaurants called La Sala in Spain where he now lives with his family.
Although interestingly he clearly hasn’t strayed too far from the footballing circles, as Raheem Sterling and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are both fellow investors of La Sala’s eatery in Chigwell.
Bentley obviously now has fingers in many pies, with similar investments in a commercial cleaning company and an accounting firm, a far cry from the life of a professional footballer. With the recent launch of a bespoke flooring company, he has perhaps cemented his reputation for having one of the most unusual and unexpected retirement plans.
Bentley was once known for pulling pranks such as the soaking of his Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp during a live TV interview after the club had secured qualification for the Champions League.
It always seems a shame though that a man with so much obvious talent was only able to manage seven caps for England, but Bentley seemed to have come into the game just too late for his personality, as everything became far more professional and cautious.
[brid autoplay=”true” video=”285457″ player=”12034″ title=”Rafa’s Pub Facts Theatre Of Screams & The Serb As Good As Salah”]