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Blackburn's Bentley lifts lid on cold England camp

Blackburn Rovers midfielder David Bentley admits there is a different atmosphere in the England camp.

The former Arsenal man, who so far has earned two caps as a sub, has been shocked and surprised by the regimentation and lack of camaraderie around the England set-up.

He told The Sun: "The England scene can be a strange place. I expected a lot of banter, like we have at Blackburn. But people just keep themselves to themselves. It is maybe a reflection of how the modern game is that everyone looks after No 1.

"We don't even share rooms any more. So, after training and a meal, you end up back in your own room staring at the ceiling until next day. You are not allowed out and there are security guards all over the place. But I'm an ordinary bloke who likes a social life. That doesn't mean getting boozed up. It just means getting out and mixing with people.

"I don't want to be shut away with just a Play Station for company. I've talked to my agent, Rob Segal, about this many times. I think it's so important. At home I go out and play snooker, go to the shops, a restaurant or even the pub. With England, you are locked in with nothing to do and nowhere to go.

"If I've had a good night out, I'm buzzing in training the next day. But if I have to stay in, I'm not as lively. Football is all about having the freedom to express yourself. Yet England players are cooped up in a hotel outside of town.

"A lot of the foreign teams stay in city centre hotels and get out and experience a new culture, so they never get bored. It keeps their minds active.

"You know what the Croatians did the day they beat us at Wembley? They went shopping in Harrods.

"We need a new attitude around England, because whatever has happened in the past hasn't worked. You play because you love to play and if you don't love to play you won't flourish.

"We don't want people to be robots. A lot of international football these days is about players switching around into different positions and expressing themselves. But we don't do that too well in this country.

"We play too much in straight lines. It has to be more flexible. We have got too predictable with England. Players are more worried about making mistakes than being creative.

"They are scared of what's said in the papers and about getting a bad mark out of 10. But you have to believe in yourself, that you are the best and want to show it."

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Tribal Football Staff

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