Nicklas Bendtner And The Wasted Career


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Most footballers fall short of making it to the very highest levels because they don’t have enough talent. However, it becomes extra painful when a talented footballer like Nicklas Bendtner fails due to poor attitude or immaturity.

Mario Balotelli might have wasted the most of his career, but nobody’s story embodies a waste of talent like the enigmatic Nicklas Bendtner.

For someone who is so confident in his astounding prowess as a footballer, the only season the enigmatic Dane lived up to expectation was his season on loan at Birmingham in 2006/2007, when he scored 13 goals in 48 appearances.

On returning to North London, he flattered to deceive on several occasions and his few decent games were dwarfed by the number of games where he contrived to miss a lot of chances.

Who can forget the famous spat with teammate Emmanuel Adebayor where he ended up with a bloodied nose?

Nothing sums up the enigma that Nicklas Bendtner has more than the three days between March 6 and March 9, 2010; he missed a raft of clear-cut chances against Burnley on Saturday, only to deliver a stunning hat-trick against Porto three days later.

Quite like Balotelli, Nicklas Bendtner has been lucky enough to have some of the top teams in European football gamble on him.

Antonio Conte’s decision to bring him to Juventus on loan in 2012 was baffling, to say the least. He repaid the manager’s faith with a return of 0 goals in 11 appearances.

A massive dose of confidence is crucial for a striker, but Nicklas Bendtner’s levels of confidence borders on the absurd.

Arsenal’s psychologist, James Crevoisier, used to give the players a series of multiple-choice questions to test their intelligence and personality.

He is on record saying this about the Danish striker: “One of the categories is called ‘Self-Perceived Competence’ – that is, how good the player himself thinks he is,” he explained. “On a scale of up to nine, Bendtner got a ten. We had never seen that before.

When Bendtner misses a chance, he is always genuinely convinced it isn’t his fault. You might say that’s a problem, and to some extent, it can be. But you can also view it as this guy has a remarkable ability to come back after setbacks.

His transfer to Wolfsburg was supposed to be the move that reignited his already stagnating career. It started brightly enough, with three goals in his first four appearances, but quickly tailed off as the striker reverted to type.

A series of discipline issues, and off the pitch misdemeanours, saw him quickly fall out of favour with the Wolfsburg hierarchy.

The already difficult relationship escalated when he was pictured posing for a photograph on Instagram standing beside a Mercedes-Benz car, a car company who is a direct rival to Wolfsburg shirt sponsors Volkswagen.

His stint with the German side was cut short after two years, the club sporting director Klaus Allofs describing Bendtner as a “menace to the club”.

Nottingham Forest of the English Championship are the latest to take a gamble on him, and you sense its last chance saloon for Bendtner.

His international career has taken a turn for the worse too, famously suspended for 6 months in 2013 when he was arrested for drunk driving. 

He has been frozen out for the Danish national team for about a year now, and will need some impressive performances in the Championship to be called back into the fold.

You’ll usually think that getting booted out of three big European clubs, and the national team in three years will make anyone sober, but Bendtner seems anything but that.

Earlier in the year, he posted a picture with partner Julie Zangenberg on Twitter with the caption “We don’t care what people think. We hot and young, and full of fun.”

Nicklas Bendtner has a chance to remind the world how good he is when his side takes on former club Arsenal in the EFL cup.

A decent showing in that game might go a long way in redeeming his battered image. Football fans forgive and forget easily.

The Dane striker turns 29 in a few months, and should be in his prime now. Will he finally knuckle down, work hard and show some maturity?

We will find out soon enough.


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