From the publishers of THE HINDU
VOL.34 :: NO.41 :: Oct. 13, 2011
Despite being only 23, Nicklas Bendtner's time in football has already been full of incident on and off the pitch.
The Dane, despite having a decent goal-scoring record (22 goals in 98 games for Arsenal), is known for his profligacy in front of goal. However, his self-confidence is astounding.
In February 2011 he stunned sports psychologist Jacques Crevoisier when a test revealed his confidence was literally off the scale. Crevoisier said: “One of the categories is called ‘self-perceived competence,' i.e. how good the player himself thinks he is. On a scale up to nine, Bendtner got 10!”
This isn't too surprising considering this is a footballer who has claimed to be one of the best strikers in the world and once said: “I should start every game, I should be playing every minute of every match and always be in the team.”
Bendtner was born in Copenhagen and joined FC Copenhagen's reserve side, KB, at the age of 10. The young Dane joined Arsenal in the summer of 2004 after excelling in the Danish national youth teams.
The following season he was loaned to Birmingham in the Championship and scored on his debut against Colchester after coming off the bench. The loan spell was an impressive one for Bendtner as he went on to score 11 goals. He also made his Denmark debut during the loan spell, scoring in a 2-0 win over Poland.
On his return to Arsenal, Bendtner found himself in Arsene Wenger's first-team plans for the 2007/8 season. He scored his first competitive goal for the club in late September in a Carling Cup tie against Newcastle. A month later he bagged his first UEFA Champions League goal during a 7-0 demolition of Slavia Prague.
His first Premier League goal did not come until December 2007, but it was a goal of huge magnitude. With the north London derby against Tottenham tied at 1-1, Bendtner came on as a substitute and headed home the winner just 1.8 seconds after coming on the pitch.
Unfortunately, he went from hero to zero when a week later, after being rewarded with his first ever Premier League start, he was sent off against Everton. However, there was another low point to come in the Carling Cup semifinal second-leg against Tottenham. Arsenal were losing 4-1 when Bendtner and Emmanuel Adebayor had an altercation during which Adebayor appeared to headbutt Bendtner, leaving him with a bloody nose.
There were more antics in May 2009, a year in which arguably Bendtner's most noticeable on-pitch contribution was wearing a pair of bright pink boots. Following Arsenal's Champions League semifinal exit against Manchester United, Bendtner was seen getting chucked out of a nightclub with his trousers down. He apologised after the incident, saying: “No matter how disappointed I was, it does not excuse my behaviour later in the evening. I may be young, but my actions were a poor error of judgement and something I deeply regret.”
The 2009/10 campaign appeared to be a fresh start for Bendtner, following a change of squad number to his ‘lucky' number 52. However, its luck-bringing qualities must have been questioned on September 27 after Bendtner was involved in a terrifying car crash on the way to training in which he wrote off his Aston Martin. Luckily, he avoided serious injury, only hurting his knee and his shoulder. On the road to the 2010 World Cup, Bendtner was a key player for Denmark. He scored three goals during qualification and was voted Danish Player of the Year for 2009.
Bendtner was in Morten Olsen's squad for the World Cup in South Africa. He scored one goal in a 2-1 group-stage victory over Cameroon but then got injured during the tournament and missed the first couple of months of what would prove to be his last season at Arsenal.
The only real highlight of that campaign on the pitch was a hat-trick against Leyton Orient in the FA Cup. Elsewhere, he was berated by Arsenal fans after missing a late chance against Barcelona at the Nou Camp that would have put Arsenal through to the Champions League quarterfinals. A move away from the Emirates was on the cards all summer. In early August, Bendtner said: “I would like to play at a place where you are happy and play every week, that is the most important thing for any football player and hopefully that will happen soon.”
Bendtner signed for Sunderland on a one-year loan deal on the last day of the transfer window but he will not be going back to Arsenal after Bendtner claimed he did not get enough first-team opportunities following his car crash.
It has been an eventful career so far for the undoubtedly talented forward. Perhaps a year with the Black Cats will help him finally settle down before he can get his career back on track and hit the heights that he believes he is capable of. He became increasingly frustrated at Arsenal last season due to a lack of first-team chances.
Although currently single, Bendtner does have a child with Danish Baroness and socialite Caroline Luel-Brockdorff, 13 years his senior, but they split shortly after the child's birth.
Following his crash, writing off one Aston Martin, Bendtner replaced it with another one.
Name: Nicklas Bendtner
Club: Sunderland (loan)
International caps: 40
International goals: 14
International debut: August 2006 vs Poland
Moment to remember
Scoring the winner in the north London derby just 1.8 seconds after coming off the bench.
Moment to forget
An on-pitch altercation with Emmanuel Adebayor where referee Howard Webb had to intervene and split them up.
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