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Page last updated at 10:48 GMT, Tuesday, 1 April 2008 11:48 UK

Bentley hints at Blackburn exit

David Bentley
Bentley wants a regular England starting place

David Bentley says he has not ruled out leaving Blackburn to further his goal of becoming an England regular.

The 23-year-old is in talks with Rovers over a new contract but admits he wants to play regular European football in order to gain England recognition.

Rovers are still in the hunt for a Uefa Cup spot, but Bentley said: "Time will tell over the next few months what will happen. It's a big decision in my life.

"You never know in football. Sometimes you have to make strong decisions."

Bentley has shown in the past he is willing to take difficult decisions, handing in a transfer request at Arsenal in 2005 in pursuit of first-team football.

He also caused controversy by making himself unavailable for England Under-21s last year, citing tiredness and his desire to extend his international career in the long term.

I want to go to the World Cup in two years and I want to be starting

Blackburn's David Bentley

Blackburn are seven points behind fifth-placed Everton in the race for a guaranteed Uefa Cup spot.

Asked if Blackburn missing out on Europe would precipitate a move, Bentley - who has been linked with Liverpool - added: "I won't answer that. I'll leave it up to you to decide.

"I want to play European football, I want to play at the top of my game. I want to go to the World Cup in two years and I want to be starting."

Bentley must force his way ahead of David Beckham, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Aaron Lennon if he is to become a regular on England's right flank.

But he said: "I'm in the early stages of my England career. I'm going to have to work hard, it's up to me to take the position.


"There's a lot of good players in this country, but if I perform then I believe I can take it, so we'll have to see."

Bentley came off the bench to replace Beckham for the last half-hour of a drab 1-0 defeat by France in Paris but said he did not particularly enjoy the experience.

"It was a strange game. It wasn't very enjoyable. It wasn't the best of games watching from the bench," he said.

"It's the stage of the season we're at. I don't think there should be a game like that anyway.

"I think it was a difficult situation. A lot of the lads are preparing themselves for the Premier League and the Champions League so it can be difficult to play a game like that for both sides.

"It was a half-hearted, 50% effort. Everyone wants to play well for England but sometimes it just happens like that.

"It wasn't enjoyable for me but you try to have an effect on the game, you go out there and try to have an effect but it is difficult to get into a game like that."

see also
Reading 0-0 Blackburn
29 Mar 08 |  Premier League
Bentley deal closer to completion
20 Mar 08 |  Blackburn Rovers
Bentley unclear over new contract
14 Mar 08 |  Blackburn Rovers
Bentley signs new Blackburn deal
27 Feb 07 |  Blackburn Rovers
McClaren gives Bentley assurance
18 Aug 07 |  Internationals
Bentley defends England pull-out
17 Aug 07 |  Internationals
Bentley withdrawal angers Pearce
08 Jun 07 |  Internationals
Blackburn land three on deadline
31 Jan 06 |  Blackburn Rovers
Blackburn capture Bentley on loan
31 Aug 05 |  Blackburn Rovers

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