Bentley Criticises England's 'Half-Hearted' Performance
Fanning, Evan, The Independent (London, England)
David Bentley has become the latest person to question the relevance of international friendlies at this stage of the season, revealing that last week's contest between England and France in Paris was "half-hearted". The 23-year-old midfielder has also hinted that he may look to leave Blackburn Rovers this summer with Liverpool among the clubs said to be interested in the player.
Bentley replaced David Beckham after 63 minutes last Wednesday in Paris to win his third cap for England, and while several managers have spoken out criticising the timing of international friendlies, those playing in them have tended to keep their counsel, particularly with a new manager to impress. Bentley, however, sees it differently and described the encounter at the Stade de France as "a strange game".
"It wasn't very enjoyable," he said. "It's the stage of the season we're at. I don't think there should be a game like that anyway. A lot of the lads are preparing themselves for the Premier League and the Champions League so it can be difficult to play a game like that for both sides. It was a half-hearted; 50 per cent effort. Everyone wants to play well for England but sometimes it just happens like that. It wasn't enjoyable for me but you try to have an effect on the game, but it's difficult to get into a game like that."
Bentley appears to be in a battle with Beckham for a position in Fabio Capello's starting line-up. With typical confidence he believes he can emerge victorious by the time England begin their World Cup qualifying campaign in Andorra in September. "It's up to me to take the position," he said. "If I perform then I believe I can take it."
Last week's friendly was supposed to be an opportunity for Bentley - who played the full 90 minutes in Capello's first game in charge - to give his new manager further evidence of his abilities. …