David Bentley claims that he had to be ‘cocky’ and ‘fake’ because he was terrified of working with the great players at Arsenal.

Now retired, Bentley made an absolute dogs dinner of his career, and he might like to claim that his attitude while at Arsenal was all an act but that doesn’t stand up when you look at the way he was at all his other clubs. Or if you listen to stories from people who’ve met him.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 31: David Bentley of Tottenham Hotspur is challenged by Abou Diaby of Arsenal during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium on October 31, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
What could Diaby have done with Bentley’s body? Wait…not like that (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

For their latest edition, Four Four Two asked Bentley if being compared to Dennis Bergkamp was a help or a hindrance. “A help,” he answered.

“Working with Dennis Bergkamp was a huge help too. How could it not be?

“He was brilliant, full of advice and support. And what a player – one of the best I’ve seen.

“I scored that chip on my debut, and maybe the crowd saw a bit of him in me. I had no problem with the comparison.

“I was terrified working with these great platers, though. I s**t myself every day I went to work.

“I had to put on a cocky, fake act and pretend to be someone else, to get by.”

Bentley made just nine senior appearances for Arsenal during his nine years at the club before they sent him on loan to Norwich and Blackburn, who he would sign for permanently. A big money move to Tottenham, which netted Arsenal a massive sell-on fee, came before loans to Birmingham, West Ham, FC Rostov and Blackburn. Bentley decided to hang up his boots at just 28 although he did not announce his retirement for another year.

He is an investor in beach clubs and a restaurant in London with Raheem Sterling and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.