Between gracing the field with gaudy pink boots and flashing his underpants, Nicklas Bendtner has earned his reputation as a pompous, overblown star. The 24-year old Arsenal striker exhibited the logo of Irish bookmaker Paddy Power after he had pulled the Danes level against Portugal. By doing so, he has let his redundant antics dwarf his rather heroic efforts at the Euros.
Bendtner first became a subject of ridicule when he conceitedly claimed to be the best striker in the world after a ‘self perceived competence’ test at Arsenal – he was given 10 on a scale of 9 by Jacques Crevoisier, a French psychologist.
Bendtner draws mixed reactions from the Gunners’ fraternity, given his turbulent charm in the dressing room and the occasional bizarre misfiring in front of goal. His reluctance to own up for missed chances has also left a large chunk of fans fuming. Given his volatile nature, one can clearly rebate the Paddy Power debacle as just another of Bendtner’s hysteric misdeeds. The striker now finds himself in the searchlights of UEFA for having violated the rules and rightly so, as clauses forbid any advertisements on players’ kits during the Euro 2012 finals.
However, it is quite impossible to discard his talent as Bendtner possesses a colossal appetite for goal, beyond his avaricious self. At 6’5”, he has a telling presence in the final third of the pitch. His movement on and off the ball can be an asset to any goal-bound move.
Bendtner was in his element against Portugal as he bewildered their aerially weak backline with two incisively taken headers. The second deserves much praise as he was heavily involved in its creation. Having risen up well to maintain possession, he played a long square ball to Lars Jakobsen, who in turn hauled his cross towards the far post over Pepe for Bendnter to head past Patricio. Bendtner had scored his sixth goal in five games against Portugal.
He was particularly impressive against the stingy German defence despite his lack of shots on goal. He linked well with Krohn-Delhi and even played an important part in his equalizing goal.
His performance was there for everyone to see. He had displayed tactical awareness and showed a great knack for appropriate positioning – as was evident by his brace against Portugal. The industrious striker has just emerged from a season-long loan spell at Sunderland and it remains to be seen if Arsene Wenger would plant hopes in him. Given Bendtner’s aerial prowess and menacing physical presence, he would bode well with Arsenal’s brand of fluid forward play. Van Persie’s future at The Emirates remains uncertain, Chamakh and Carlos Vela seem to be on their way out too and this might just instigate Wenger into retaining the Dane.
He may be garrulous, he may be showy and he maybe irritatingly confident but Bedntner could well develop into the all conquering striker he claims to be, if checked. Redemption at Arsenal could just about spark the legacy that would be Nicklas Bendtner.