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The Toe Poke

Birmingham land Bentley on loan

Tottenham Hotspur winger David Bentley has temporarily ended his unimpressive spell at the club by joining Birmingham City on loan for the remainder of the season.

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Bentley, 26, joined Tottenham from Blackburn in a £15 million deal in 2008 and has been restricted to six goals in 62 appearances due to a loss of form.

Manager Harry Redknapp recently admitted that the Arsenal academy graduate had failed to win over Tottenham supporters and the winger will now look to rejuvenate his career with a spell at St Andrew's.

Former club Blackburn were also reported to be interested in Bentley, who enjoyed two successful seasons in the Rovers midfield between 2006 and 2008, earning England recognition.

Such was his success at Blackburn, and his potency from wide positions, Bentley was billed as the next David Beckham, but while the former England captain currently aims to seal a loan move to Spurs, the young pretender has left White Hart Lane.

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish said: McLeish said: "We're delighted to have David's services. He is a classy footballer and will enhance the quality of the squad.

"He is a natural footballer capable of top delivery at set-pieces. With the likes of him, (Alexander) Hleb and (Sebastian) Larsson - who has had a great season consistency-wise - we have creative players. Bentley can provide more competition. He has had his moments at Spurs but there is fierce competition for places there.

"They have a glut of superstars. With the introduction of people like (Rafael) van der Vaart, players of that ilk, and the rise of (Aaron) Lennon, it has become very difficult for him. The quality is amazing and maybe he can get his career back on track here."

McLeish praised the club's board for their efforts in ensuring the deal went through.

"It's well done to the persuasiveness of the club. I know David was on the hit list of five or six clubs so we're delighted he chose us,'' he added.

Bentley has won seven caps for England, the last of those coming against the Czech Republic in August 2008. And he also has the honour of being the first Englishman to score at the new Wembley Stadium when he netted for the Under-21s against Italy in March 2007.

Birmingham defender Scott Dann will miss Sunday's derby after suffering a torn hamstring in midweek. Liam Ridgewell is expected to move into the centre of defence to partner Roger Johnson, with David Murphy replacing Ridgewell at left-back.


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