Football pundit, Darren Bent has been talking about the awkward phone call he received from former Celtic manager Neil Lennon. Bent responded to the question of ‘who he would rather play under’, between the newly arrived Steven Gerrard at theRangers, or Neil Lennon during his second spell as Celtic manager.
Bent decided to lean towards the management of Gerrard, which to be fair, Gerrand and Bent had previously played together so knew one another. However, in his evaluation of the rivalry, Bent made a few statements about Lennon and his managerial style. At the time (2019), bent spoke to Football Insider and Glasgow Live reports him saying:
“I’d rather go and play for a Steven Gerrard over Neil Lennon any day of the week because he’s (Lennon) old school. It’s different if it’s Brendan Rodgers, the football he played is different than Neil Lennon, he’s inherited a really good squad first and foremost, but if we talk about fresh ideas new ideas and manager on the up, the more exciting team, it has to be (the)Rangers for me.”
“I like the way Steven Gerrard plays, I like his passion, I know him quite well playing with England and playing against him and he’s someone that I’d like to play for.
“Whereas Neil Lennon for me, what you don’t want around any football club is drama and I always feel that with Neil Lennon there’s always little things that crop up around him, things will go well for him for a year at Celtic, that start of next year there’ll be a bit more drama and he’ll be out the job, it feels it might come back round again.”
“For me I’d go for Steven Gerrard, the more stable environment for me is under Steven Gerrard.”
Following this condemning statement regarding Neil Lennon’s role at Celtic, Bent was informed Lennon wanted to call him and discuss some of the things he said. After branding Lennon “old school”, and attracting “drama”, it was no surprise that Lennon wanted a few words. However, when discussing this confrontation now, Bent seems to portray a much calmer event. When speaking to talkSPORT, Bent stated:
“I used to do a column for Football Insider and I spoke about Lennon. They asked me a question: who would I rather play under, Steven Gerrard when he was at Rangers or Neil Lennon? I basically just said Steven Gerrard probably, because he’s a young fresh manager, I’ve played with him and I know him.
“I said something about Neil Lennon. I said there was a bit of commotion at the time or something like that. The next day someone I knew texted me and said Neil Lennon’s asking for your number. I said no worries, no problem at all. He calls me up and says ‘I just want to clarify some of the things you said.’ I just said exactly what I thought.
“But to be fair after that, I had to work with him on Soccer Saturday a couple of times, and he was the nicest guy. To the point where I felt ‘I wish I hadn’t said that now’.”
In their head to head battle in Scottish football Neil Lennon won 5 trophies (adding to the League Cup already won by Brendan Rodgers to win two Trebles) while Steven Gerrard won one (from the nine he competed in). Callum Davidson at St Johnstone won the other two during that period. So if Bent was after silverware Celtic and Neil Lennon would have been the better chocie and even a move to Perth to play for St Johnstone would have yielded more medals than playing for Gerard at theRangers.