Bentley feels the pressure of the No.7 shirt

May 26, 2008

David Bentley admits he is feeling under pressure to replace iconic England ace David Beckham.

The 23-year-old Blackburn winger's impressive season earned him a place in coach Fabio Capello's squad for the two friendlies with Switzerland and France.

He has also been called into the squad for the friendly double-header with the USA on Wednesday and then Trinidad & Tobago on June 1.

Bentley is tipped as the natural successor for LA Galaxy star Beckham on the right of midfield and the former Arsenal player is aware of the expectation levels.

'I'm just starting out in my international career and I have to prove a lot,' said Bentley. 'Every time I go out on the pitch I have a lot to prove to the media, the fans and the manager.

'I've got to perform every time. There is no point talking a good game - I have to go out and do it.'

'He (Beckham) is loved by everyone. I admire him highly as a man and a player, but it will be difficult to get past him. He has got everything. I'll do my best and see what happens.

'The levels he has reached are so high, but I am here to take his place.'

Bentley also insists John Terry's professionalism has shone through since joining up with the England squad following his Champions League penalty miss against Manchester United last week.

Terry slipped as he took the penalty which could have won the Blues their first Champions League and although he says he will be 'haunted forever' by the blunder, the Chelsea captain has been a true pro, according to Bentley.

'John has been great,' said Bentley. 'He has just got on with his job. He's a great player and a great professional.

'He knows what he has to do. I was gutted for him but that happens in football and I am sure that he is just thinking about getting into the final of the Champions League again next year and winning it.'

Bentley came under fire after withdrawing from the England Under-21 squad for the European Championships in Holland last summer.

He claimed fatigue as the reason behind his controversial withdrawal, which critics labelled a `disgrace' and 'unpatriotic'.

Bentley was even booed at Wembley when he made his senior debut but there is no doubting the fact that he is one of the rising stars under Fabio Capello's England revolution.

He is now seen as the natural successor to David Beckham and has no qualms about making his ambitions clear.

But Bentley insists has no regrets about the decision which caused him so much criticism..

'I am just looking to the future now,' said Bentley. 'I am looking to do well every time I step out on to the pitch. There will be people who are questioning me from a footballing and personality point of view, but they don't know me.

'I am just going to keep on enjoying myself and performing like every player.'