Bentley: I had to escape England
David Bentley has revealed he is departing to Russia because he wants to make a fresh start and escape a reputation that he feels has been unfairly built up.
Bentley, 28, joined FC Rostov on a six-month loan deal last week after Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas made it clear the midfielder was surplus to requirements at White Hart Lane.
For a man who moved to Spurs in 2008 for £15 million and was once being touted as David Beckham's replacement for England, a move to a side sitting fourth from bottom in the Russian league came as a bit of a surprise.
Yet for the former Blackburn man, who was linked with moves to Fulham and QPR, a move away from England to a country he can purely be judged on his football was exactly what he needed.
"I think there's a big stigma around me in England," Bentley told the Daily Mirror. "The picture that Tottenham painted of me was so wrong. I've heard a lot of managers ringing players up and saying, 'I've heard he's trouble'. The players then tell me about it, but by then they had decided not to sign me.
"Someone had to be telling them that, because it's just not what I am like. It's time for a fresh start - get rid of those shackles and get away from England for a while to go to somewhere to be judged on what I can do on the pitch rather than something that's completely wrong about me."
And Bentley is sure that with some hard work he can get back to where he was a few years ago, as a player who impressed with his creativity.
"Now I'm going to Russia to show it's all about football," he said. "I want to push myself, try something new and get back to where I was. I still believe in myself. I'm buzzing about playing again and that's something I've missed so much."
Despite believing he has been treated unfairly in England, Bentley does admit to having made his own fair share of mistakes.
None more so than the infamous chucking of water over former boss Harry Redknapp after Tottenham's Champions League qualification - something which he believes was the beginning of the end of his time at White Hart Lane.
"He never said anything to my face about it - he didn't really ever say much to me at all - but I knew I was always up against it after that," Bentley said. "I hardly got another look-in. I've played 42 games in four years. I should have played 42 games in one season, let alone four. It's been like banging my head against a brick wall at times."