Date:Monday September 10 2007
Blackburn Rovers midfielder David Bentley may well have been booed by sections of the crowd as he made his senior England International debut on Saturday, but he has no regrets over his decision to pull out of the England Under-21 squad, which caused these boos.
Bentley withdrew from the England squad going to the European Under-21 Championships earlier this summer, citing fatigue as his reasoning. This was not well received by many fans throughout the country, by the Under-21 manager Stuart Peace or the England manager Steve McClaren, who left Bents out of the squad to face Germany in a recent friendly as his punishment. Bents finally did earn his long overdue (no matter what anyone says, he has DESERVED this for the best part of a year!!!) England debut as a late substitute for Shaun Wright-Phillips in the 3-0 win over Israel and as we are well aware he was booed (which he expected), but he has NO regrets at all.
Bents told the Sun: "I thought it was coming. To be honest, it was probably good entertainment if you're not on the receiving end.
"But I was there making my England debut so I'm not worried about anyone else.
"I've made a lot of strong decisions in my career, like whether to leave Arsenal and also with the decision not to go to the Under-21s.
"I've never, ever regretted it.
"A lot of people had a go at me but I knew I was doing the right thing for my career, for Blackburn and for my England career. I think Saturday proved that."
Personally I feel that his reception was wrong (Rovers player or not) even if Ray Wilkins and Glenn Hoddle think he basically got what he deserved!!! However, many others including Bentley's former England Under-21 manager David Platt felt it was wrong, but Bents will get past this to win over the crowd.
Bents has made unpopular or even unfashionable decisions in the past (such as leaving Arsenal for Rovers), and he believes that this kind of mentality has made him the player that he is now, and will continue to make him a better player still.
He added: "I reckon you have to be a strong person, a strong character to make it as an international. We need strong characters in the England team.
"Those decisions make you stronger as a person and as a player and what happened at Wembley will only make me stronger. But I loved it. It was brilliant and I'm still buzzing."
Finally, as he has done so several times since his decision to withdraw from that England squad (which WASN'T a cowards way out has been suggested, OR a lack of respect towards England with him declining to play for his country) he explained WHY he did it, looking at a longer-term picture with the decision in mind.
He finished by saying: "I was worried about fatigue come November or December this year.
"If I'm fatigued in a couple of months' time then I won't be going to the Euros. That is my goal and my dream and I really think I can push on from here."
Bents is STILL no matter what he says going to have to work hard to win over those doubters, but if anyone can he can, as others have won the fans over in the past and some of these haven't been half as talented as Bents is!!!
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Date:Monday September 10 2007
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