Date:Monday February 11 2008
Blackburn Rovers midfielder David Bentley will come up against Arsene Wenger tonight (and his former Arsenal side) but Wenger insists that he is proud of what Bentley has achieved.
Bentley finally left Arsenal in 2006 in search of regular first team football to sign for Rovers after loan spells with Norwich City and Rovers. Wenger didn't want him to leave at the time when he did but he had fierce competition ahead if him at that time so he appreciated his desire for first team football and reluctantly agreed to this in order to be fair to Bents.
Wenger is quoted on Sky Sports as saying: "Bentley is having a good development in his career and I am very happy for him.
"I let him go at a moment where I could have said 'no, you stay here' - but I was also conscious there were big players in front of him and he was not experienced enough.
"You have to consider is it fair to them not to let them go, even if it hurts you later."
Wenger knew that the day would come (as it often has) when people would ask why he let Bents go, but as he had already explained (and continued to explain) it was in the best interests of Bents for this, and this is what he wanted and he wanted to be fair, however, he has said that he would be playing for Arsenal now if he was still with them but either way he remains proud of what Bents has so far gone on to achieve.
He added: "I knew there would be some stage where people said 'why did you let him go?' but when I make that kind of decision, I am then happy someone asks me that question because it means he has been a success elsewhere.
"It is sometimes difficult to let a player go when you know it is just a question of timing. But at the end of the day, you cannot keep everybody and it can come back to haunt you because Bentley is a great player now.
"He would play here now, whether he would be a regular or not, I don't know, but he has the quality.
"David always had the belief he was a good player and he will show it, not because he was bearing a grudge or anything against the club. He is convinced of his own ideas and has great belief in himself at that level."
We will be hoping (along with Bents himself) that he can come back to haunt Arsenal tonight, however, I personally think that neither party holds any grudge against the other whatsoever.
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Date:Monday February 11 2008
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