Saturday 3 December 2016

Soccer could learn from GAA, says former England international David Bentley

Michael Verney

Published 03/03/2016 | 02:30

David Bentley sporting the Crossmaglen jersey Photo: Sportsfile
David Bentley sporting the Crossmaglen jersey Photo: Sportsfile

David Bentley believes soccer could learn a lot of lessons from the GAA after admitting his love of sport was rekindled during his time with Crossmaglen Rangers last year.

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As part of the 'The Toughest Trade' series, Bentley swapped Spain for Crossmaglen but the warm reception he received, and the camaraderie of the GAA, showed many of the values which he feels soccer needs to reclaim.

The 31-year-old, a former winger with Premier League-chasing Tottenham Hotspur, retired in 2014 and has become disenchanted with the game's lack of personality.

"In GAA you play for your community and the commitment is brilliant. I loved the sense of community and going to Crossmaglen was like old times, the way it (soccer) used to be," Bentley said.

"The lads were socially together all the time and loved what they did. I think soccer suffers without that and I think that's why the Football League, to me, is quite boring to watch.

"There's not much personality or charisma in the game anymore, which is a shame because I don't think it's allowed to flourish really. I think it's frowned upon and people don't like to see that anymore."

Irish Independent

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