• Premier League

Bentley slams treatment from Spurs and Redknapp

ESPN staff
September 13, 2012
David Bentley was given little to smile about during his time at Tottenham © Getty Images

David Bentley has revealed his loan move to Russia was partially inspired by a need to get away from the myths created about him by parent club Tottenham and former manager Harry Redknapp.

Bentley, 28, joined FC Rostov on a six-month loan deal last week after Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas made it clear the midfielder was surplus to requirements at White Hart Lane.

For a man who moved to Spurs in 2008 for £15 million and was once being touted as David Beckham's replacement for England, a move to a side sitting fourth from bottom in the Russian league came as a bit of a surprise.

Yet the former Blackburn man, who was linked with moves to Fulham and QPR, said he could no longer have his reputation tarnished behind his back.

"I think there's a big stigma around me in England," Bentley told the Daily Mirror. "The picture that Tottenham painted of me was so wrong. I've heard a lot of managers ringing players up and saying, 'I've heard he's trouble'. The players then tell me about it, but by then they had decided not to sign me.

"Someone had to be telling them that, because it's just not what I am like. It's time for a fresh start - get rid of those shackles and get away from England for a while to go to somewhere to be judged on what I can do on the pitch rather than something that's completely wrong about me."

Bentley believes his relationship with Redknapp became severed the moment he celebrated the club's qualification for the Champions League by pouring a bucket of water over his head on TV.

"It was all good natured. But he definitely didn't see it like that. It was a celebration and nothing more," Bentley said. "That season, I'd played 20 games up until that point and we got into the Champions League. I'd started 15 games in a row and, even though I didn't start that game, we were just celebrating a brilliant achievement.

"He never said anything to my face about it - he didn't really ever say much to me at all - but I knew I was always up against it after that. I hardly got another look-in.

"I've played 42 games in four years. I should have played 42 games in one season, let alone four. It's been like banging my head against a brick wall at times."

Elaborating on the inaccurate image that Bentley feels has been painted by Tottenham, he spoke of his off-field investment that had Redknapp labelling him a party boy.

"The relationship never worked at Tottenham. Whether it was with the club, the manager or the fans, it just didn't happen for me.

"The manager (Redknapp) didn't pick me. It was the unknown which was difficult. There was a total lack of communication. I thought the new manager might give me a chance but there's probably been too much water under the bridge already.

"It got put about that I'm a party boy. I've got a restaurant business in Spain - it's an investment with my agent. Harry Redknapp said I should concentrate on playing football rather than running that. The truth is, I never even go there. It's an investment."

Bentley will now aim to rebuild his reputation in Russia, insisting he can still add to his seven England caps. Whether he will ever repair bridges at Tottenham remains to be seen.

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