There’s a story about David Bentley. When he went to Norwich on loan from Arsenal they were in a training session and he, thinking he was some kind of comedic genius, belted the ball straight up into the air and said ‘ave it!’, like Peter Kay in that ad for John Smiths. Nobody thought it was funny, least of the all Norwich manager.
There’s another story about David Bentley. When he scored his first Arsenal goal, a rather delicious but utterly irrelevant 90th minute chip against Middlesbrough in January 2004 people said he was the new DB. Seriously. In fact, it was Arsene Wenger who said it.
“I believe that he has a bit of the characteristics of Bergkamp, who is his idol. If a young boy comes on for five minutes and chips the keeper, you cannot say he lacks confidence.”
Nothing wrong with having Dennis Bergkamp as your idol, no way. Nor indeed with having confidence. There is something wrong with believing you’re the new DB after just one goal though. It’s rumoured that after scoring the goal Bentley hired a limousine to drive him to training, paid a group of out of work actors to be his posse, refused to speak to any of the other youth players unless they called him ‘Sir Better-than-Bergkamp’, had all his teeth replaced with freshly painted ivory choppers that he bought from an black market elephant poacher and had an enormous tattoo of himself on his back (the tattoo was of himself having a tattoo tattooed on his back, trippy).
There’s another story about David Bentley. When Sp*rs came back to draw that game 4-4 he went on TV and said ‘That’s mustard’. Which is stupid. Because mustard is a condiment that goes very well on a hot-dog and I wouldn’t put that 4-4 mustard on any kind of sausage/bread combo.
There’s another story about David Bentley. From being the new DB, and then the other new DB when he scored some goals at Blackburn and people thought he was Beckham’s rightful heir, he’s now playing (or not, because I think he injured himself badly when he tripped over his own ego) for West Ham where he is managed by Sam Allardyce.
It’s hard not to think the two don’t deserve each other. Bentley, wearing his gold bikini and chained up in front of Allardyce as he sits around his palace with Han Solo frozen in carbonite over in the corner. And we all know how that ends up. Yep, Bentley is going to strangle his manager to death with a chain as they float above the Sarlacc and his career in football will be over. Nobody will shed any tears, apart from Bentley who will end up working the toilets in Kings Cross.
‘So why all the David Bentley stories?’ you ask. I tell them merely to illustrate a point. Bentley was clearly a player of talent and potential, but 8 years after that delicious but largely irrelevant chip against Boro, it remains unfulfilled because he believed the hype and was, at the very bottom of it all, an absolute bellend.
What’s that got to do with anything? Well, I was heartened to read the words of Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain who, let’s face it, has done more in terms of performance for Arsenal than Bentley every did, and at a much younger age. There’s no ego going wild, no thinking he’s the best thing since sliced beard which always struck me as a weird thing to be better than because lots of stuff is better than sliced bread but anyway, and, most importantly, no being an absolute bellend. He knows he’s got lots to learn and is happy to do so.
I listen to everybody. People like Thierry and Robin who score goals and are attacking players like myself, you can always learn a lot from them. That’s all I do, I listen and learn.
I have belief in myself and in my own ability. I just know that I have to keep working hard and learn off the boys, and then hopefully the rest will come. At the moment it’s going quite well for me so I’m just going to keep working hard.
It is going quite well, isn’t it? Even that is typically understated. Four goals already this season, in three different competitions, keeping established internationals like Arshavin and Benayoun out of the team, and generally being the most exciting prospect since sliced bread. Erm. Well, you know what I mean.
Obviously there’s a whole career ahead of him and football is unforgiving world. Just ask David Bentley. One day you’re the cock of the walk, the next day just a cock. The early signs for Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain are good. Knowing you’ve got a lot to learn instead of thinking you know it all already is a great start. If he keeps good people around him and his feet on the ground he’s got the talent to become a fantastic player. He just needs to look at the new DB for evidence of that.
In other news Carlos Vela says he doesn’t want to come back to Arsenal and has instructed his agent to get him a permanent move to Real Sociedad. Oh no.
While Ryo Miyaich is impressing people at Bolton with his mad skillz.
Early start here, gotta run, have a good day.