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LEO'S LONDON: Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner needs to live up to his own hype

22 Dec 2010 15:48:56

LEO'S LONDON: Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner needs to live up to his own hype

Nicklas Bendtner has been banging on about being fast-tracked to greatness at Arsenal for so long that it is a surprise that anyone still listens. But, after his latest outburst, the only rapid route open to him now will whisk him through the exit from the big-time. Warming the bench: Bendtner (right) hasn't featured in the Premier League since his outburst After giving manager Arsene Wenger a play-me-or-lose-me ultimatum last month Bendtner has largely been left to rot. The striker has featured in Europe and the Carling Cup but has not played a single minute in the Premier League since and has reached a crossroads in his career a few weeks before his 23rd birthday. Talk of a loan move to Lazio has been rejected and sounded like wishful thinking anyway. The Premier League clubs monitoring Bendtner's situation include Fulham and Everton. So the options open to him a few weeks before his 23rd birthday are clear: knuckle down and live up to his self-proclaimed greatness at Arsenal or take a step backwards. The end result, somewhere down the line, might be the same because Bendtner has shown he has the potential to make it. In the Nik of time: the Arsenal striker has been linked with moves to Lazio and Bayern Munich But if he cannot force his way into the Arsenal team now the chances of him walking straight into the starting line-up at another of Europe's elite clubs are remote. Patience is seldom a virtue among young players who have broken through at big clubs but Wenger does not often show his tougher side with players this clearly and Bendtner should take note. Despite his relative youth, the Denmark forward already has baggage that could soon bear comparison with previous Arsenal problem players Jermaine Pennant and Emmanuel Adebayor. The winger, a prodigy like Bendtner, never tired of telling people how great he was or that he was bound for stardom before going off the rails and having to rebuild his career. Bad examples: Pennant (left) and Adebayor failed to build on promising starts at Arsenal Adebayor proved himself a top striker but has too much attitude and too little team ethic and looks like he is on his way out of his second title-chasing Premier League club, Manchester City, in less than two years. What Bendtner must learn from their experiences is that Wenger does not suffer anyone's attitude problems for too long. To get games, Bendtner must earn them. Marouane Chamakh has done well this season but he is not an immovable object in the Denmark forward's path - unless he persists in trying to talk rather than play his way in to the team.  Gareth Bale and Rafael van der Vaart may have grabbed the limelight this season but Luka Modric should also get credit for making Tottenham tick. The little Croatia midfielder has been impressive in a more traditional central role that he did not look suited for. Star of the show: Modric has impressed for Redknapp's side this season Vacating the more advanced role for Van der Vaart, Modric's work-rate and tackling in midfielder has been a revelation. Instead of looking vulnerable to injury from a defender's swipe, he has been snapping at opponents with tenacity and can still see and make passes that most cannot. Chelsea may or may not be interested in him but compared to their version - Yossi Benayoun - Modric is in a different league.  There aren't many things West Ham could do that would be worse than prolonging Avram Grant's reign as manager but appointing Sam Allardyce permanently in his place would be one of them. Maybe Big Sam could keep the club up and save them from financial oblivion as a short-term firefighter, but any role beyond the end of this season would end, very  quickly, in tears. The wrong move: Allardyce is not the man for West Ham in the long term Alan Curbishley kept West Ham up against the odds but never won over the fans with his functional football and the style of play is almost as important as Premier League status at the Boleyn Ground. Allardyce's direct approach simply wouldn't wash and if the cost of sacking Grant is a problem now, putting the club in a position where they had to pay-off his replacement a year or so later would be financial folly.  Lazio ready to rescue Bendtner from Arsenal as striker hints at exitBench-warming Bendtner facing axe, warns Denmark manager OlsenWilshere caught up in club v country row after Under 21 call riles WengerARSENAL FC


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