Bent backs pal Bentley to cut mustard

IPSWICH striker Darren Bent is backing England Under-21 pal David Bentley to be a big success with Premiership new boys Norwich.Bent, who grew up in Huntingdon, and Peterborough-born Bentley go back a long way.

IPSWICH striker Darren Bent is backing England Under-21 pal David Bentley to be a big success with Premiership new boys Norwich.

Bent, who grew up in Huntingdon, and Peterborough-born Bentley go back a long way.

Town's 16-goal leading marksman last term, Bent said: "I've actually known David for a long time. When we were 12 or 13 we were in the East Anglia team together and we played in tournaments all over the place.

"We went on tour to France once and it was obvious he was going to make it big. The manager used to build the team around him and he was always telling the rest of us that David would be a star and go a long way in the game."

Norwich were on Bentley's trail even before Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger decided it would be in the 19-year-old's best interests to leave Highbury on a season-long loan.

That alerted Birmingham, Bolton, West Bromwich Albion and West Ham – but the newly promoted Canaries beat them all to win the signing race.

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Bentley showed glimpses of his class when he burst on to the first team scene with the Gunners last season.

He has made a total of nine senior appearances and his one senior goal, in an FA Cup crushing of Middlesbrough, was among the Goal of the Season contenders.

Wenger knows there will be more long-term benefit in Bentley playing regularly for Norwich than in the occasional outing for the Premiership champions.

Bent goes along with that and added: "Norwich have got themselves a good player and a good lad. He's a solid character and good to have in the dressing room. I think he'll do well for them.

"You can't doubt his ability. He's played twice for the England Under-21 team and got the man of the match award each time.

"When we played Sweden he was rooming with my best mate Darren Ambrose and I spent a lot of time in their room. Like I say, he fits in well with the rest of the lads.

"I think his technique is amazing. He can look a bit lazy on the ball but he never gives it away. I've seen defenders go after him and it's as if they can't tackle him because he's so good at holding them off."

Bent also joined the debate as to Bentley's best position when he added: "I don't think it matters where Norwich play him because he will be good wherever he plays. There's a bit of Beckham about him when he plays wide right.

"I think he could do most damage playing in behind the front two. He would be at his most dangerous there, in a sort of free role drifting in and out of position and making it hard for opponents to pick him up.

"He's an Arsenal player and that says a lot about him. He's been well educated at Highbury and is highly rated there.

"We saw enough of him last season to know he can do it in the Premiership and he'll be looking forward to having a decent run with Norwich."

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