Rocky romance a stroll in the park for cocky Bendtner

Arsenal forward has more self-perceived confidence than Henry, Fabregas and Bergkamp

The jury’s out on whether Arsenal forward Nicklas Bendtner will be upset about the curtain coming down on the January transfer window and his romance with Caroline ‘The Baroness’ Luel-Brockdorff, but one thing’s for sure – it won’t dent his confidence.

According to Jacques Crevoisier, a French sports psychologist who has spent the last decade evaluating players at the club, Bendtner has a self-belief in his ability that is unparalleled by any other player during that time.

“One of the categories is called ‘self perceived competenceÂ’ – i.e how good the player himself thinks he is,” Crevoisier told Swedish football magazine Offside. “On a scale up to 9, Bendtner got 10! We have never seen that before.”

This is quite some claim when you consider the calibre of player who played for Arsenal during a decade in which they won two Premier League titles and three FA Cups, and reached the final of the Champions League – a line-up that includes Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Cesc Fàbregas and Patrick Vieira.

The club’s assistant manager “Pat Rice was sitting next to me and couldn’t stop laughing,” continued Crevoisier, whose work at France’s Clairefontaine Academy was instrumental in his country’s resurgence as a footballing nation in the late 1990s.

“When Bendtner misses a chance, he is always genuinely convinced that it wasn’t his fault. You might say that’s a problem, and to a certain degree it can be.”

BendtnerÂ’s confidence in his ability often makes him look both big-headed and foolish. There were reports at the 2002 World Cup that he was predicting he would win this seasonÂ’s Premier League golden boot, and earlier this season he served a one-week ban after making comments to the media about his discontent at being on the bench.

But there are also advantages. “You can also view it as this guy has a remarkably ability to come back after set-backs,” pointed out Crevoisier, which comes in handy if you miss as many chances as Bendtner does. Despite being with the club for more than six years, the 23-year-old has still not managed to win over Arsenal’s fans, who generally regard him as a player who needs numerous chances to convert.

His last outing typified this. He scored one and won a penalty in a 2-1 win over lowly Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup on 30 January – a match-winning performance some would say. But the general reaction among fans was that his goal was a fluke and that he dived to win the penalty.

Nevertheless, he was not sold during the transfer window in which Premier League rival West Ham United made a bid to take him out on loan, and Arsenal gave him a valuation of £15 million. And Bendtner, buoyed by this show of confidence (although he already has enough of that), will now attempt to win his place back in the team – a daunting challenge given the current form of Dutchman Robin van Persie and Moroccan newcomer Marouane Chamakh. A good performance against England on Wednesday night will undoubtedly help his cause.

And there shouldnÂ’t be any distractions off the pitch, not least the nighttime wailing of his seven-week-old child. Media reports over the weekend suggested Bendtner has ended his 16-month romance with the babyÂ’s mother, the 36-year-old Luel-Brockdorff. A pal of the couple, which in British tabloid speak is often code for a ‘figment of our imaginationÂ’, rather bizarrely said the couple had split up to avoid getting divorced in the future, as well as a few predictable comments about the age difference. 

“They decided to go their separate ways now rather than have a messy divorce in future,” the nameless source told The Sun. “Nowadays, many young women regret having tattoos, though admittedly most are not on the same social scale as Caroline. She had his name done on her wrist to show her devotion. They will of course remain in close contact because of the child.”

With ValentineÂ’s Day around the corner, buying a card will be one less thing for the super-confident Bendtner to worry about.





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