Has Your Perception Towards Nicklas Bendtner Changed? by Dan Smith
The other day I wrote ‘Jack Wilshere The Movie‘. I wonder what Jack thinks of his former team-mate Nicklas Bendtner who’s been busy promoting his Autobiography.
Both were once seen as two hot young prospects at the Emirates yet never fulfilled their potential for various reasons. In the case of Mr Wilshere, his mind was willing, his body simply wasn’t. What ‘Super Jack’ would give to have had a career where he stayed healthy.
You could understand why he would resent Bendtner who had the opportunity so many dreamt of but kind of wasted it. At the age of just 32, the striker now plays in the 4th tier of Danish Football, not because of any physical injury but, as he now admits, the lifestyle of what comes with being a footballer cost him. You could argue his injury was a mental one.
I’m not naive, I know how a book tour works. The subject tells a few stories that make you want to purchase what he’s selling. It’s worked, I will be buying ‘Both Sides’ and will review it for JustArsenal.
Of course the media have put out lots of stories which I choose not to read as it kind of spoils what you’re about to read. One of the headlines that’s been hard to ignore though was the scale of his drinking and gambling addictions.
If you want to be cynical, maybe you feel the Dane is only now showing regret to garner sympathy to sell as many units as possible? Yet even if someone thinks they’re having the best night out of their life, the concept of gambling away 400,000 pound in 90 minutes in a casino is not something you wish on anyone. Worse, he can only recall being so drunk he couldn’t sit on his chair, yet still his money was taken afterwards to buy more chips. That indicates he didn’t have the correct ‘friends’ looking out for him.
That was in 2011, at which point he estimates he had lost 5.4 million in his life on poker. If you look at the time frame, this is when he first asked to leave Arsenal who he felt were punishing him for his part in a car crash.
He had two unsuccessful loan spells and then it became obvious that he was an Arsenal player because we couldn’t find anyone to pay his wages.
When he scored winners at home to Cardiff and Hull it started the ironic chant, ‘Nicklas Bendtner, he only scores if your s…’
The man himself has never been afraid to make fun of himself, posing with a gimmicked Ballon D’or to reference his once arrogant boast that he was one of the best players in the world.
Yet it’s sad to think that in reality, the one time this human being needed the family environment that Arsene Wenger had always provided, he had pushed away.
Little did Gooners know that when we were making cruel chants towards our own player, he was dealing with an illness, make zero mistake – addiction is an illness. Maybe even as recently as eight years ago not enough research into mental Health had been done?
Maybe young men like Bendtner, already a source of ridicule, felt unable to reach out and ask for help? I never thought Bendtner was as bad as some fans made out. My stance was if he just kept his mouth shut, people wouldn’t have mocked him as much. At the end of the day if you’re going to compare yourself to a Messi and Ronaldo, people are going to point out when you’re not reaching those standards.
Early in his career, he was contributing as a Gunner
In 2007 he scored 13 times
in 2008- 9
in 2009 – 14
It can’t be a coincidence that following an injury (where he obviously didn’t manage his spare time sensibly) and the height of his issues he lost his confidence in front of goal. It wouldn’t be until 2017 his goal tally would again reach double figures, with Rosenberg in Norway. At that point he claims to have battled his demons.
There is nothing worse than looking back on anything and having regret. Clearly Bendtner wishes he could go back and give warnings to his younger self.
I just wish he had told his story earlier and got the correct guidance.
I’m interested if this changes the perception of Nicklas Bendtner?
When we talk about Wilshere, Diaby, etc, we feel sorry for them for having an injury that was no fault of their own. Well, you could look at it that Bendtner had an injury as well. His was his mind, a young man earning so much money so young, he couldn’t cope. Like a muscle needs rehab and time to heal so does your mind.
I hope we have reached a time where society understands the illness that is addiction and I hope Bendtner’s story encourages anyone’s listening to ask for help if your struggling…