David Bentley Recalls ‘Black Eyes and Fights’ in Brutal Arsenal Training Sessions

​In a career that saw him play for the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham and FK Rostov, David Bentley has revealed that an altercation between Kolo Toure and Pascal Cygan was the “worst fight he’s ever seen”. 

Bentley – who has since retired from football – began his career with the Gunners, with him making his first-team debut in 2003 at a time that the north London club were regarded as among the very best in the country. 

David Bentley

The former winger eventually left the club permanently in 2006 for ​Blackburn Rovers, although speaking to ​BBC Radio 5 Live, he disclosed the intensity at which Arsene Wenger’s would train at to maintain their standards.

He said: “You don’t realise until you’re away from it. Every day training was so intense, it was like a match every day, technically gifted. You just slotted in as a young player trying to make your way and fit in.”

During his time at ​Arsenal, Bentley won a ​Premier League winners medal as part of ‘The Invincibles‘ in 2003/04 – with the feat yet to be matched since. 

Despite the feel-good factor at the time, the former England international recalls a fight between Toure and Cygan during training which he put down to their ‘winning mentality’. 

Although he spoke well of his time at Arsenal, he added: “But you’d get smashed every day. Vieira would smash me every day, Henry, [Giovanni] Van Bronckhorst. You’d go off with black eyes, there would be fights. The worst fight I’ve ever seen, Pascal Cygan and Kolo Toure.

Kolo Toure,Vio Ganea

“Trying to get them two off each other was unbelievable. It was like ‘I’ll leave them to it’. But that’s the intensity and that’s the winning mentality. And then when you leave and you go to a different club, you think it’s not the same.”


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