Harry Burford writes about the resurrection of Nicklas Bendtner.
Whilst Denmark’s Nicklas Bendtner has all but disappeared from our collective footballing consciousness in recent years, there was once a time in which the former Arsenal man could seemingly do no wrong in the eyes of the Emirates faithful.
The lofty centre-forward, who continues to ply his trade among the wider European game as an active and determined 29-year-old, previously excited Danish and Gunners fans alike with his confident persona and burgeoning potential to thrive among the English top-flight.
Although the Premier League has previously included a whole host of world class frontmen with their own range of delightful possibilities to achieve, many Arsenal fans were quietly expecting great things from the Danish hot-shot at their club.
He was seen as something of an unruly protégé, someone with enough talent and charisma to possibly succeed in the footsteps of Henry and Bergkamp as he went about his business in front of the decisive Gunners faithful.
Flash-forward over half a decade on from his initial introduction down in North London, and Bendtner’s once professed hero status at the Emirates has all but disintegrated in its entirety, along with his former ambitions of one day representing one of the most potent strikers in the whole of Europe.
Today, the 29-year-old Danish international can be found lacing his boots among the Eliteserien, the little known Norwegian top-flight in which many a former Scandinavian superstar has sought to try their luck.
Bendtner is just the latest in a long line of ex-Premier League strikers to find himself exiled from the English game and cast aside elsewhere, yet there is more to this former Arsenal man than mere mishap and misfortune…
Whilst most would consider life among the Norwegian Eliteserien to represent something of a wasted venture, Bendtner has nonetheless struck upon a brand new vein of form whilst operating in his new surroundings, with his ability to score great goals once again confirmed in the eyes of his former fans.
His current employers – Rosenborg BK – have benefited greatly from his newfound presence at their club. Although the Norwegian league champions will not find themselves troubling the greater European elite any time soon, Bendtner’s recent resurrection deserves further recognition in light of everything he has achieved alongside his new teammates.
Despite failing to land a single trophy of note throughout his previous spell in front of the Emirates faithful, the current Danish international has just come off the back of an outstanding debut season among the Norwegian top-flight.
He has successfully registered 19 goals in under 30 league appearances for Rosenborg. His standing among the wider European game has risen as a result of his newfound striking pedigree, whilst his own personal trophy cabinet has been further stocked with the recent addition of the Norwegian league title, as well as the Eliteserien’s prestigious top goal-scorer award.
Bendtner’s striking abilities are proving increasingly proficient among his new club. He has tucked away a series of important goals from in and around the opposition’s penalty-area including one truly sensational finish against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Molde earlier on this year.
After receiving the ball from a poorly timed throw-out courtesy of the opposition keeper, the Rosenborg attackers sought to spray possession as quickly as possible to their like-minded Danish counterpart. The movement was in motion as they say, and what would come next would leave many a captivated onlooker profoundly speechless.
Bendtner, a player who has never shied away from attempting to deliver the spectacular or the sublime, then struck the ball with the outside of his boot and sent it flying into the top right corner of the keeper’s net. It was an unstoppable first time strike that really served to reignite Bendtner’s once promising reputation upon the European scene.
Whilst the Danish frontman was previously known as something of big-talker who couldn’t quite match his alluring statements with genuine effectiveness out on the pitch, Bendtner is fast transforming himself into a dependable and reliable asset among the Norwegian Eliteserien.
Of course, his new surroundings fail to compare with the intensity of the Emirates and the bright lights of Premier League football. Such a notion seemingly goes without saying within the wider context of this particular debate.
But as the striker has now positioned himself at the forefront of Denmark’s attacking strategy ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia this summer, perhaps worldwide football fans are on the cusp of encountering one last hurrah from the former Arsenal man.
Alongside the likes of Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen and the Eredivisie’s latest breakout star, Kasper Dolberg, Bendtner has every opportunity to make the most of his nation’s upcoming place at this summer’s tournament.
If things go well for the once highly regarded attacker, perhaps a move back among the English top-flight isn’t entirely off the cards. The Danish frontman arguably still has a great deal to offer, for even in the eyes of his most ardent critics, Bendtner always had something special about his overall game.
It’s just a shame that his proposed talent never quite manifested itself whilst playing for Arsenal on a frequent and regular basis. The striker was accused of having an overinflated ego during his spell at the Emirates, which may have gone some way in explaining just why he never quite hit the lofty heights many were seemingly expecting.
Although the 29-year-old centre-forward has since developed into something of a well-worn joke among the wider European game in general, such an unwanted status remains subject to change. If Bendtner can continue tearing it up among the ongoing Norwegian game, maybe we will finally begin to witness the fullest extent of his goal-scoring capabilities.
He may have recently been cast aside as a failed Premier League protégé who struggled to handle the unforgiving sense of pressure among the English top-flight – but now, with the backing of all those buoyant Rosenborg fans ready to cheer his name – it seems the world could finally be ready to embrace Nicklas Bendtner for who he really is.
Brash, reckless, cocksure and largely overconfident, yet a player nonetheless capable of finding the back of the net with impressive panache and impulsive finesse.
A striker who despite all his obvious flaws and setbacks, will surely be remembered one way or another for quite some time to come.