Patient Bentley intent on taking his chance

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The Independent Football

David Bentley has warned Dennis Bergkamp that he is determined to take his place eventually in the Arsenal side.

David Bentley has warned Dennis Bergkamp that he is determined to take his place eventually in the Arsenal side.

The young striker is a great admirer of Bergkamp and nothing would delight him more than if the Dutchman stayed for another season. He has already been compared with Bergkamp after his exquisite chipped goal against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup, and heconfirmed his potential with a man-of-the-match display for the England Under-21s in Tuesday's 2-2 draw with Sweden in Kristianstad.

He accepts it will be hard to break into the Gunners sideregularly but he is ready for the challenge. He said: "Everyone has been labelling me with Dennis Bergkamp because that goal against Middlesbrough I scored was his trademark - and still is.

"It is always a compliment for that to happen because I have been watching him since I joined the club as a 12-year-old. I learn off all the players at Arsenal because they are great players - Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires etc. I can learn off the centre-half, the goalkeeper. However, Dennis is the one I learn off the most. It is always good for me to be put in the same bracket as him.

"I'll be glad if he stays another season. He's still good enough to do that, although if we won everything he might say 'let's finish at the top'. But I'm there to take his place. That's what I want to do eventually."

Bentley admitted: "The players are doing so well that it is a case of 'who can you drop?' and I don't begrudge them for not dropping anyone because they're world class. It is hard to get in but I accept the challenge. It is difficult but I've got to perform every day. I am just glad to be in that bracket of 20 players at Arsenal.

"But I feel my chance will come whether Dennis is there or not. They can buy another player but if I'm not ready this season or the season after, then it will be the season after that. I've just got to keep performing in every game."

The England Under-21 coach, David Platt, believes that Bentley can make a big impression in the game if he concentrates on hurting the opposition rather than trying to impress the crowd.

Platt said: "When David goes on to the pitch, he understands the movement of the players around him and he understands that his ability can hurt people. Sometimes in training he tries to do a little bit too much. As long as he goes on to the pitch to look a good player for the professionals by hurting the opposition, then he's got a chance. People can see his technique and ability but he's got to hurt his opponents. I'd rather he entertains me than the crowd. To be fair, in the two games for me he's done that.

"If you ask David if he expects to get into the Arsenal side he would say yes," Platt added. "He is a confident player and if you are training with the players at Arsenal week in and week out, you are bound to learn.

"In order to get into their side he has to improve. But Arsenal will keep him as long as his desire and hunger to get in the side keeps improving him."