Nicklas Bendtner: A View From The Inside, With Adrian Clarke

LONDON ENGLAND - JANUARY 25: Nicklas Bendtner of Arsenal celebrates as he scores their first goal during the Carling Cup Semi Final Second Leg match between Arsenal and Ipswich Town at Emirates Stadium on January 25 2011 in London England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Well, we've all seen new recruit Nicklas Bendtner in action. We all have our own ideas about how good, or bad, he is, and we all think we know best on what to expect.

However, in our undying quest for knowledge here at Roker Report, we thought that we would get in touch with somone who knows exactly what they are talking about when it comes to our new great Dane.

Adrian Clarke, host of the excellent Red, White & Blue podcast, as well as writer and expert summariser on www.arsenal.com - not to mention ex-Arsenal player - seemed like the perfect person to grab an opinion from, so that's exactly what we did.

So here we are, the thoughts of someone who really knows his stuff, it's Roker Report meets Adrian Clarke.

Hi Adrian, thanks for taking the time to talk to us today. Mr Bendtner... Do you think that he got a rough deal at Arsenal? After all, this is a guy who has scored against Barcelona at the Nou Camp?

Adrian: "He did score at the Nou Camp, but many Arsenal fans will also remember him missing a glaring opportunity to score in the same stadium at a critical moment last season. He could have been a hero, but instead fluffed his lines and that’s the type of player he is. Nicklas Bendtner will score important goals, but he will also snatch at chances too. I don’t think the Dane had a rough deal at the Emirates because he never quite proved he was worthy of the number one striker tag, but that said, he often played out of position on the left flank which never truly suited his style of play."

That being the case then, do you think that the questions over his attitude are justified?

Adrian: "I don’t know Nicklas personally, but from what I have heard he is an extremely confident lad. There is a fine line between self assurance and arrogance though, and I think a few people took exception to some of the things he did and said. On the pitch, I never saw him give less than 100 per cent for the Gunners, so his attitude as a footballer shouldn’t be questioned. He probably rates himself higher than he really should, but as a professional, I can’t criticise him."

Are you disappointed to see him leave the Emirates?

Adrian: "No. I think it will do him the world of good to spend a season with Sunderland, working with a no nonsense gaffer like Steve Bruce. If he doesn’t do the business, Bruce will tell him, and I think that’s what he needs. Nicklas has been in the comfort zone for too long at Arsenal, used mostly as an impact sub but now he will be expected to step up to the plate and I believe he has the ability to shine. Arsenal will miss him as a back-up to Robin van Persie, but it’s best for Bendtner himself to try and complete a whole season as a regular in the Premier League. If he does well his ego will rocket, but if he under performs it could be the reality check he needs as a person."

His comments towards Arsenal upon joining us were very hostile, did you expect to see him come out and say the things that he did?

Adrian: "Yes I did. In his own mind he believes Arsenal haven’t used him properly and he is itching to prove them wrong. He’s been frustrated for a while and now he is determined to let off steam. He’s certainly not afraid to speak his mind! If Bendtner can channel that determination properly, it could be really good news for Sunderland."

It seems, with the deals that have been discussed, that Arsenal are paving the way for him to leave at the end of the season, be that to Sunderland, or somewhere else. Would you be sad to see him go?

Adrian: "If he isn’t going to play most weeks its best for him to leave Arsenal. He is approaching the stage in his career where he has to be considered a senior player, and even if he bags a hatful for Sunderland, that may still not happen for him in North London. I am one of the minority that believes Nicklas Bendtner can be a top class striker, so in that respect I’ll be sad to see him leave Arsenal, but he’ll benefit from playing regular football elsewhere."

Do you think that it is a mistake by Wenger at all to let him leave?

Adrian: "I can’t blame Arsene Wenger for letting him go. I’m sure he’d like him as a back-up, but if a player himself shows dissent behind the scenes it can be damaging, so he’s made the right call in letting him go on loan. I don’t believe Bendtner could mentally handle another season as a bit-part player. This is his big chance to show he’s good enough to be a leading Premier League striker. I don’t think he will be outstanding as such, but I do have confidence that he’ll be an asset to Sunderland."

How do you think he will do at Sunderland? You mentioned on the pod a couple of months ago that he may prosper at a team like us... Do you think that Bruce will be able to get the best out of him again? As he did when he played for him at Birmingham?     

Adrian: "Bruce is just the type of guy who can extract the best from Bendtner, so I’m confident he will do well at the Stadium of Light. He’s strong, he holds the ball well and he makes intelligent runs. His finishing is hit or miss but on paper he will make the ideal foil for Asamoah Gyan. He’d also be confident playing in a front three alongside Sessegnon and Gyan too, which would make Sunderland quite a force to be reckoned with in the attacking department. If Steve Bruce can make Bendtner feel ten feet tall - yet also keep him grounded, I think we’ll see a quality player develop."

And with that, I'd like to say a big, big thank you to Mr Clarke for taking the time to speak to us. If you don't already subscribe to the excellent Red, White & Blue, then what are you waiting for??? Get yourself over to iTunes, or their website (see top of the page) now, and check it out. 

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