There are not many footballers in the world right now who have a higher opinion of themselves then Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner. Almost mythically he once scored off the scale in ‘self-perceived competence’ tests conducted by Arsenal sport psychologist Jacques Crevoisier. Many have called into question his strong self-belief in the past believing it borders on brash arrogance rather than comfortable confidence.
It was said that:
"One of the categories is called 'self-perceived competence,' i.e. how good the player himself thinks he is. On a scale up to 9, Bendtner got 10! We have never seen that before. Pat Rice was sitting next to me and couldn't stop laughing. When Bendtner misses a chance, he is always genuinely convinced that it wasn't his fault.’’
At the European Championships this summer it seemed he was finally starting to back up this self-confidence after turning out good performances for the Danish national football team. It was these performances that eventually convinced Juventus to sign him as a last resort when a litany of main transfer targets fell through their fingers. Juventus sporting director Giuseppe Marotta admitted himself that the Danish hitman was not the clubs first choice and was more a buy-from-necessity rather than genuine envy:
"Bendtner is not the high-profile striker we were hoping to sign, but it's a chance we had to take in a difficult market like this,"
This summer Arsenal made it quite clear from day one they no longer wanted him at The Emirates and even after a good Euro 2012 no suitors wanted him until Juventus came in at the last minute to sign him.
The Turin club has even openly admitted to concerns over his weight and fitness with the possibility of sending him back to Arsenal a genuine idea. If Juve persuade Bilbao to part with Fernando Llorente in January that may become a reality. While all that has been going on there has also been the small matter of playing football. As yet Bendtner has failed to find the back of the net in Italy yet a quick skim over the search engines shows that he is still ‘mouthing off’ about his talent and how weak his parent club is.
Or is he?
It does seem the Dane has been made a rod for his own back recently but when you actually get to the nitty gritty details Bendtner does not seem to be the tempestuous party animal he once was. As he put it himself:
‘’Everyone will have an opinion of me but very few know what I'm like. A lot of things have been written about me and taken out of proportion. Nicklas said this, Nicklas said that. No matter how many times I try to clear it up, people never seem to let it go….I felt it was important to come to a new country and get a new start; get my career going again.’’
While you may not rate him as a player do not be so quick to do the easy thing and dismiss him as a deluded narcissist. Simply he is a young man trying to achieve something in the job he loves.
Do you want Bendtner to find success in Turin? And Arsenal fans, not just to get rid of him…
image: © Ronnie Macdonald