THIS BENT­LEY OOZES CLASS

in the shadow Bees keeper won’t live

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Daniel Black­ham

AS A Brent­ford goal­keeper, you could do worse than em­u­late David But­ton – but Daniel Bent­ley has al­ways wanted to be his own man.

With al­most 150 ap­pear­ances, a pro­mo­tion from League One and 39 league clean sheets in a three-year spell with Brent­ford, it’s easy to see why But­ton’s gloves were so hard to fill fol­low­ing his de­par­ture for ri­vals Ful­ham last sum­mer.

But Bent­ley made the move to Grif­fin Park from Southend and has al­ready clocked up ten clean sheets – just one fewer than But­ton man­aged in his first Cham­pi­onship sea­son in west Lon­don.

Au­thor­ity

“I knew that Butts was a favourite here and he’d done a very good job, but I didn’t want to be com­pared to him,” ex­plained the ta­lented stop­per.

“I wanted to be my own man, I wanted to come in and stamp my own au­thor­ity on the shirt.

“I didn’t want to be the next David But­ton or any­thing.

“I wanted to be the first Dan Bent­ley. I wanted to make the shirt my own.

“I wanted to come in and play ev­ery game of the sea­son and play as well as pos­si­ble.

“It’s my first sea­son in the Cham­pi­onship, so it’s been a bit of a learn­ing curve at times.

“I’m only 23, so I’ll be learn­ing for years and years to come.

“I’ve vastly im­proved and I’m happy with where I am now, but I’m not go­ing to rest on my lau­rels.

“I want to con­tinue to im­prove and con­tinue to be the best that I can be.”

It may only be eight months since he went from be­ing a Shrimper to a Bee, but Bent­ley has al­ready be­come a fan favourite in west Lon­don.

While goal­keep­ers are typ­i­cally thought to reach their peak later than out­field play­ers, the former Ar­se­nal acad­emy prod­uct made his 200th pro­fes­sional ap­pear­ance in last Satur­day’s 5-3 win at Bur­ton Al­bion.

Bent­ley ad­mits that in a young Brent­ford squad – where the av­er­age age of the side tak­ing on Bur­ton was just 23 – he feels like a wily old head.

“I’m fairly ex­pe­ri­enced. I’ve played 200 pro­fes­sional games, which at my age is great,” added Bent­ley.

“It’s some­thing that three, four or five years ago I would never have dreamed of – get­ting that many games in such a short pe­riod of time.

“Com­pared to (19-year-old de­fender) Rico Henry or (20-yearold left-back) Tom Field, I’ve played a fair few games.

“In this very young squad, I al­most feel like a vet­eran. I feel like a se­nior pro, and that’s some­thing I thrive off.”

Bent­ley has al­ways been a su­perb shot-stop­per but has slowly de­vel­oped into more of a sweeper-keeper this term – some­thing he ac­knowl­edges was a ne­ces­sity.

De­vel­oped

“I never re­ally used to pass the ball out, un­less there was a player in an acre of space,” said Bent­ley.

“That’s not the Southend ethos, it’s not the way they play.

“But then I came here to Brent­ford, a team that plays ‘to­tal foot­ball’ – ex­cuse the cliché.

“You have to learn to use your feet and I al­ways had it in the locker.

“It was just the be­lief and the con­fi­dence to use it in a game in front of thou­sands of peo­ple.

“It took a lit­tle while and I’ve not per­fected it by any means.

“Some­times, my de­ci­sion­mak­ing could be bet­ter, but it’s one area of my game I’ve mas­sively de­vel­oped.”

PIC­TURE: ProS­ports

NEW FAVOURITE:: Brent­ford fans have taken Daniel Bent­ley to their hearts af­ter los­ing David But­ton, inset, to Ful­ham

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