Former Spurs favourite retires - 'I fell out of love with football'

Ex-Arsenal starlet David Bentley has announced his retirement from professional football at the young age of 29.

Bentley, who turned out of Arsenal, Blackburn and Tottenham Hotspur during his Premier League career, has already been out of the game for a year following his release from White Hart Lane in July 2013. His five year spell with Spurs was interjected with loans at Birmingham, West Ham, FC Rostov and Blackburn Rovers, and, having only made 30 league appearances since 2011, the former Gunners starlet expressed that he had lost his desire to play as the game moved into a new age.

In a tearful interview with Sky Sports, Bentley revealed that his decision is a positive move for his life, allowing him to focus upon his Spanish-based restaurant business, as well as putting the well-being of his family first.

He said: "I've given up football. It's over a year since I played my last game and I've taken the decision to take my life in a different direction. I felt like it was time to call it a day.

"I've just had little baby twins, three months old, and I've got a little four-year-old and I want to focus on that. My love for the game went a little bit and I didn't want to carry on just for the fact of paying me money.

"It's not really ever been an option for me to do that. I'm involved in a restaurant in Spain and we're bringing it to the UK, so there is a lot of work there.

"I enjoyed every minute of it and had a smile on my face every day but I don't want to carry on playing somewhere just for money, taking my family to a place we really don't want to be. Life's too short to do that.

"I've just fallen out of love with the game. I had a bit of a difficult time at Tottenham and it's just one of them things. It's probably a little bit early but it's where I am at now.

"It's a positive decision in my life and I am only viewing it as positive. I'm happy."

Despite claiming that he enjoyed his playing career - a career which brought seven England caps, and the record of being the first Englishman to score at the new Wembley Stadium - the winger sensed that his dissatisfaction with the game was due to the newly found 'robotic' nature of football - with social media and money ruining the day-to-day enjoyment of the sport.

"I have no regrets. I loved every minute of playing but the game has changed. When I first started it was the enjoyment, going in to work every day was brilliant.

"Now it's a little bit robotic, the social media side of it, the money that has come into the game. I hate to say it, but it's made it boring and predictable - calculated - and to go and sign another three or four years into that wasn't really an option for me."

It represents a well-thought out move for a player often regarded in England as something of a troublemaker. Despite displaying such obvious talent at such a young age, he has failed to reach his full potential, and with the increasing glare of social media in the sport, he may have made a wise decision to get out before his reputation is ruined even further.

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