Eng­land stars aren’t al­lowed to ex­press them­selves... the heart has been ripped out of game

Sunday Mirror - - PUZZLES - BY TOM HOP­KIN­SON

DAVID BENT­LEY reck­ons Eng­land in­ter­na­tion­als have be­come snooze-fests for fans be­cause they are the same for play­ers, too.

And Bent­ley isn’t sur­prised things have gone that way af­ter see­ing so much of the char­ac­ter drained from the game he used to play.

“It’s bor­ing for the play­ers and that’s why it’s bor­ing for the fans,” said the 33-year-old, who re­tired four years ago.

“Foot­ball is an art form and, if you play it with your head and not your heart, then it will come across like that.

“If you’re watch­ing Strictly or if you’re at Cirque Du Soleil, then you ap­pre­ci­ate what you are see­ing be­cause of the art of it.

“The per­form­ers are ex­press­ing them­selves.

“Foot­ball is the same and therein lies the prob­lem be­cause play­ers aren’t al­lowed to be ex­pres­sive any more, es­pe­cially with Eng­land.

“There are some great lads in foot­ball, but they aren’t al­lowed to show their per­son­al­i­ties.

“Ev­ery in­ter­view sounds the same, ev­ery ques­tion is an­swered the same, ev­ery game I watch now, it all looks the same.”

Bent­ley wants play­ers to be more en­ter­tain­ing. He said: “Where’s [Georgi] Kin­kladze, where’s [Gian­franco] Zola, Paulo Wan­chope, [David] Gi­nola, Gazza, [Eric] Can­tona? Where are those play­ers these days?

“They were the play­ers I loved watch­ing be­cause they played with their hearts, not their heads.

“When peo­ple say, ‘Use your head’ in foot­ball, it’s the most bizarre com­ment I’ve ever heard.

“Never use your head. The head com­pli­cates sit­u­a­tions.

“The prob­lem is foot­ball is a re­flec­tion of so­ci­ety and so­ci­ety now bases ev­ery­thing on the way it looks rather than the way it feels.

“Now, foot­ball is all about tac­tics and sta­tis­tics, and it’s to the detri­ment of the game.”

Bent­ley, who won seven Eng­land caps, reck­ons his old Tot­ten­ham boss Harry Red­knapp (below) is the best man for the Eng­land job.

He added: “Harry’s one of the most qual­i­fied coaches we’ve got, great per­son­al­ity, the lads would like him.

“But the rea­son he hasn’t got the Eng­land job is be­cause those above him at the FA are scared he might up­set the brand, he might say some­thing. “Well, I’ll tell you what, the Eng­land brand is prob­a­bly in the worst state it has ever been in. “Play­ers aren’t al­lowed to ex­press them­selves as much as they used to and we need to rip up the rule­book of what­ever bull***t rules we have set for 20 years and just have a jolly-up. Let’s see how we do then.

“The Ir­ish have a great time. Stephen Carr tells me about his ex­pe­ri­ences of play­ing for Ire­land and when I think about my ex­pe­ri­ences of play­ing for Eng­land, com­pared to what he says, it up­sets me re­ally.

“I don’t talk about Eng­land with any mean­ing. I was bored, in ho­tels, noth­ing go­ing on… it was like a prison.

“The whole sys­tem is pes­simistic now, about not get­ting into trou­ble – but the best play­ers are op­ti­mists.

“An op­ti­mist will score a goal in a World Cup fi­nal be­cause he feels it with his heart, not his head.

“You ask any­one how they scored a goal and they can’t ex­plain — they just wal­loped it. I just say, ‘At the time, I just felt it, it was an ex­pres­sion of my­self ’.

“The heart has been ripped out of the game – and it needs to be put back into it.”

Pic­tures: Alan Stan­ford/ Fo­cus Im­ages Ltd

PAS­SION­ATE: Bent­ley played for Eng­land but says our stars, who drew 0-0 with Ger­many (left), are sti­fled.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.