BLACKBURN Rovers have revealed how they are teaching their young footballers how to resist the pitfalls of wealth following David Bentley's gambling confessions.

Rovers' England midfielder told live on TV how gambling had taken over his life, and that he first visited a betting shop when he was 14 years old.

Before overcoming his addiction, Bentley said he would often put up to 100 bets a day on that betting would be the first thing he woud think of when he woke up.

Speaking on Setanta Sports' Football Matters he said: "I was on everything, the horses, the dogs, online with poker, betting on bingo, all sorts. I was betting on everything.

"You could get a certain amount of money and then just blow it all.

"I'd wake up in the morning and the first thing I thought of was to have a bet instead of thinking about football.

"You get addicted to the whole thing, trying to pick a winner. It started out just by loving it but you can't help but get to the next level. In the end you risk losing it all.

"It all starts off on pounds. Then it's hundreds and then it's thousands. It's never about winning £100, you want to win a hundred grand. It was difficult to stop doing it but luckily enough for me I got out of it."

Rick Leighton is the Rovers Academy education and welfare officer. His job is to educate Blackburn's youth team players about the dangers of addictions and advise them what they can do with their money.

He said: "On the addictions side, the Academy's doctor, Dr Chris Mowbray, instructs the boys on drugs, mainly about the ones that are banned by law and by the sport's governing body because we don't want to get caught out by a random drug test.

"We have links with Barclays Bank and an ex-professional footballer called Mark Hutchinson who advises the boys on investments and any savings they have."

Rick also said they make every effort to liase with organisations that can offer help to footballers who find the pressure of fame too much.

"We also have links with the Peter Kay's "Sporting Chance" organisation, who recently helped out Joey Barton."

"In the past, we've had the beginings of problems with boys getting into trouble with gambling debts but we've been able to nip it in the bud quite quickly.

"We're quite a close-knit fraternity down here and we get to know about things.

"It's happened most with the foreign boys rather than the English lads because they're a long way from home, and time can sometimes hang heavy on their hands.

"But, touch wood, neither drugs or gambling has ever been a problem for us."

Former Blackburn striker Simon Garner thinks gambling is an institutional part of the game.

He said: "It seems like its part of modern football that, with the amount of money pouring into players' pockets, footballers are looking for more ways to fill their time.

"We've all heard about the card schools on the England coaches and players placing massive bets.

"But let's put it into perspective. If a Premier League footballer, who earns £100,000 a week, puts on a £10,000 bet it's just like a working man putting on a £20 bet."

Former Burnley striker Andy Lochhead said: "Gambling was never a problem during my career in the 1960s - it simply wasn't an issue.

"Back then, we'd perhaps play cards on the coach to an away game, betting for sixpence.

"That would be the extent of it."

Gamblers Anonymous hold sessions in Blackburn where addicts try to kick their habit in confidential group sessions.

A spokesman said: "Gambling is a silent addiction but it's very prevalent.

"There is no rhyme or reason to it though.

"The best way sometimes is to tell everyone about your gambling.

"It can be strengthening".

"I have seen top footballers attend sessions. One player I saw was at the height of his career and lost it all to gambling."