Dan Bentley would have stopped four Newcastle goals v Norwich, says Phil Brown

Phil Brown has been talking up in demand Southend goalkeeper Dan Bentley, recently linked to Leeds United.

Southend boss Phil Brown has told The Echo that he is hopeful goalkeeper Dan Bentley will stay at the club, but has been talking him up all the same.

Bentley starred as Southend were promoted to League One last season, making decisive saves in the play-off final penalty shootout at Wembley.

The 22-year-old is a free agent at the end of the season, with QPR linked in August by The BBC and The Mail earlier reporting West Ham were monitoring his progress.

Former Hull City boss Brown believes Bentley is good enough for the Premier League, making a bold claim about Norwich City's 6-2 defeat against Newcastle at the weekend.

He said: "I watched Newcastle against Norwich on Sunday and Dan Bentley would’ve saved four of those goals in my opinion.

“He’s destined for great things and is certainly a prized asset for us. I’ve had many conversations with him since the window closed and I’m sure they will continue."

Newcastle United need a goalkeeper, should they make a bid?

A season ending injury to Tim Krul leaves Newcastle in need of a solution in goal, and Bentley could even be a long term answer for them.

Southend could decide to cash in when the transfer window opens, although even if they do not they will be entitled to compensation via a tribunal.

Leeds United were last week linked to the shot stopper, with The Mail reporting the Championship side have sent scouts to watch him in action.

If Norwich City are looking for a replacement for veteran John Ruddy, they could do worse than start scouting Bentley and take a look at whether Brown's comments about him being an upgrade hold value.

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