Morten Gamst Pedersen believes Blackburn Rovers saw the best of David Bentley because he was away from London.

The Blackburn Rovers cult hero spoke exclusively to The Lancashire Telegraph last week, going in-depth on his nine years at Ewood Park.

Amongst the topics were Pedersen's former team-mates, with Bentley proving a particularly interesting case study. The former England international arrived at Ewood Park from Arsenal's youth ranks and made a name for himself.

His exploits with Rovers and England earned him a big-money move to Tottenham Hotspur, where he failed to deliver on his potential. At the age of 29, Bentley retired from professional football, in a sad story for English football.

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The former England international, who won seven caps in 2007 and 2008, but had not played for over a year after a spell in Russia with FC Rostov, claimed he had 'fallen out of love with the game'.

Pedersen believes his circle of friends in London contributed to his downfall. In Lancashire, he was protected from outsider influences and that is why Rovers saw the best from him.

"I remember when he arrived from Arsenal, maybe the lifestyle and some of those things were not ideal, he didn't have the best people around him," Pedersen explained.

"Of course you never judge people but he came up to Lancashire, his family were around him and it was a safe environment. People took care of him, he came to a family club where people took care of him.

"He turned into a great physique, his build was brilliant and he had the ability on top of that. He was unbelievable.

"He was building himself up from being a boy to a solid Premier League player and then broke into the national team. When he went to Tottenham, I think things that come with that, money and teams wanting you, I think he fell back into those old habits.

"I think Blackburn dragged him out. If he'd stayed in the shape he was, he was unbelievable. He's a fantastic guy, I have nothing bad to say about him, he always had a smile on his face. He was some player."