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Bentley: I’ve never watched back Emirates wonder-strike

The 31-year-old, who retired in 2014 citing a loss of love for the game and now co-owns a restaurant in Marbella, opened the scoring on a night which saw the Lilywhites score two late goals to snatch a point away from their arch rivals.

Having come through Arsenal’s youth system, Bentley enjoyed two loan moves before joining Blackburn permanently, where he did little to diminish his reputation as ‘the next David Beckham’. 

Bentley switched Lancaster for London for £15m in 2008, and subsequently spent time on loan at Birmingham, West Ham, FC Rostov in Russia and Blackburn. He retired from football in June 2014 aged 29.  

I think I hit it out of frustration because of the way the season had gone. If I had been in a good mood I might have controlled it

The now-31-year-old is most famously associated with scoring his memorable 40-yard volley against Arsenal in 2008's 4-4 draw but, speaking exclusively in the May 2016 of FourFourTwo, admits he has never seen it again since.

“I’ve never watched it back,” he told FFT. “It was a moment when I felt, prior to the game, that I was going to do something good. All my mates were there, Harry [Redknapp] had just come in after Juande Ramos, and I felt that this was going to be a big night; that everything had been getting on my nerves and this was going to be different. 

“The ball just sat up nicely for me. We had been in a meeting before the game and it was mentioned that their keeper [Manuel Almunia] liked to stand off his line, so I just hit it. I think I hit it out of frustration because of the way the season had gone. If I'd been in a good mood I might have controlled it and played it wide to my full-back. Instead, I smashed it.”

But while that individual howitzer ranks highly among his career highlights, Bentley says he takes greater satisfaction from qualifying for the Champions League with Spurs in 2009/10.

My favourite memory is qualifying for the Champions League that season. It had all clicked under Harry and that was great.

Redknapp, having been brought in as Ramos’s replacement the previous season, guided Tottenham to 4th and qualification for the Champions League for the first time in their history.

“I’m very much a team man,” he says. “People won’t believe that, but I came to Tottenham to be part of a great team. Personal moments such as the Arsenal goal are great – but yes, my favourite memory is qualifying for the Champions League that season. It had all clicked under Harry and that was great.”

Read the full interview with David Bentley in the May 2016 issue of FourFourTwo magazine, which also features exclusive chats with Xavi, Jay Rodriguez and Filipe Luis. Plus, we reveal the Top 50 players in the Football League, travel to Vitesse Arnhem to find out what life is like as Chelsea’s feeder club, recall the history of music in football, hear from Benik Afobe on how to score at any level and ask: is there any point in crossing the ball ? Available in print, on iPad and iPhone from April 6. Subscribe!

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