ENGLAND legend David Platt has hailed Blackburn's David Bentley as one of the most talented players he has ever worked with.

The Rovers midfielder was targeted by England's boo-boys on Saturday when he came on as an 83rd minute substitute in the 3-0 win over Israel.

He has been vilified by a section of the Three Lions support since his much-publicised decision in the summer to withdraw from the European Championships Under-21 squad at the eleventh hour.

But Platt, who led England's youngsters to the European Championships in 2002 before being replaced by Peter Taylor two years later, leapt to Bentley's defence and believed he could prove to be invaluable to his country.

He said: "David is one of the most confident players you will ever see.

"In my three years as Under 21 boss, a lot of players came through but the most talented was David Bentley.

"He has an exceptional ability to open defences up."