Former Premier League star David Bentley impresses during Crossmaglen Rangers training
FORMER Spurs and England midfielder David Bentley had his first taste of Gaelic football training with legendary Armagh club Crossmaglen Rangers last night.
Armagh star Aaron Kernan is travelling to train and play with Sunderland FC on Thursday in a new 'trading places' television documentary linked to the AIB All-Ireland club championship.
Kilkenny hurling star Jackie Tyrell and Kernan are both doing week-long swaps with professional athletes in America and Britain for the TV3 show called 'The Toughest Trade', which aims to compare the lives of amateur gaelic players with professional athletes.
Tyrell is going to Florida over the next fortnight to train and play with a Major League Baseball team in a direct swap with former MLB catcher Brian Schneider.
Schneider, who has played for the New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals during his professional baseball career, is coming to Kilkenny to play with Tyrell's club James Stephen's and also to do his day-job as a sales rep with Glanbia.
Kernan is swapping roles with Bentley who arrived in Crossmaglen at lunchtime on Monday.
He went straight into a training session and today the former Spurs and Blackburn players is in Belfast, working in Kernan's property and letting business, before returning for another 8pm session with the club.
The former soccer star, once valued at £15m and with such crossing ability that he was compared to David Beckham, will have to be a quick learner as he's going to play in a challenge match against Cross' local rivals Silverbridge on Wednesday night.
Bentley, who lives in Marbella, retired from soccer in 2014 saying he had fallen out of love with the game so it remains to be seen if the rigours of training and playing gaelic football with one of the greatest clubs in modern gaelic will help him rediscover his sporting passion.
Kernan was once watched by Spurs scouts when he played underage soccer in Dundalk's youth academy but he concentrated on Gaelic football from his mid-teens.
The 31-year-old retired from inter-county football last Winter, having amassed seven Ulster and three All-Ireland club titles, as well as an All-Ireland senior medal with the Orchard county.
"The boys were really impressed with how he dealt with a typical pre-season training session on the third pitch last night," Kernan said of Bentley's introduction to the joys of gaelic training.
"I think he came through it well and certainly enjoyed the camaraderie with all the boys, it's caused great excitement around the town.
"I'm thinking with his striking skills that he'll be a corner-forward, I can't see him coming in as corner-back," Kernan quipped.
The programme, called 'The Toughest Trade', will air on TV3 on March 9, ahead of the AIB All-Ireland Club finals on St Patrick's Day.