Blackburn's Bentley: Croatia players so relaxed

Blackburn Rovers midfielder David Bentley believes England's players can learn from the relaxed approach of Croatia last week.

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"You have got to believe in yourself and be relaxed," said Bentley. "You must treat football like it is your hobby, not your job, you should play it because you enjoy it.

"The Croatian team went shopping at Harrods before the game and the English public say: 'Look at them, they are not bothered.'

"But they had the belief in their head, the belief in each other, so they were just chilling out and relaxing, going out for lunch, because the football at night is an enjoyment in their life, it is not a hindrance.

"Players like Niko Kranjcar do not perform week in, week out, in the way players like Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard do, but maybe the Croatians were better prepared on the night.

"I have learned a lot from the foreigners in English football. Sometimes we go away with England and get wrapped up in cotton wool and stay in our hotel rooms for a week locked away from the world.

"But the Croatians came here and went shopping and we can learn a lot from that because it is a relaxed approach to the game and to life, and that comes across in the way they play.

"It leaks down to our grassroots level and sometimes kids can be too regimented and trained too much. They should be given the freedom to play and express themselves because the only way good football comes out is when you are relaxed and enjoying each other's company."

He continued: "This is the time to build. There are no competitive matches until the start of the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign so whoever comes in as manager must build."

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