Brentford goalkeeper Dan Bentley is living proof of the fact that your life can change in the blink of an eye.

Like many players that end up going between the sticks, the 23-year-old dreamed of being a striker and scoring goals but all that changed one Sunday morning.

His Sunday League side, Brentwood-based Hutton Medway, was in need of a goalkeeper after regular stopper Reece Ottley went on holiday with his parents.

Bentley was the man chosen to go in goal, not that he was particularly happy about it, but that day changed his life.

The Brentford star takes up the story: “I did want to be a striker. Who doesn’t want to score goals? I liked heading, tackling, sliding and making a hook tackle. I used to love it.

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“I’d come home from a Sunday league game absolutely filthy. My kit would be brown and it was actually red.

“I turned into a goalkeeper when I was nine or 10 years old. I was a centre half at the time and our goalkeeper went on holiday for a week and the manager came up to me before the game and asked if I could do a job in goal for us.

“Initially, I was not really keen and didn’t fancy that. Reluctantly, I went in goal and did really well. I remember my dad (Ian) behind the goal coaching me, telling me when to go out and what to do.

“An Arsenal scout was there and I got scouted by them. They said to me if you want to be a goalkeeper you can stay; if not thank you very much. I never looked back.”

He admitted: “It was a complete fluke. It may or may not have happened since then but it did and it was absolutely crazy how it happened.

“I believe in that circumstance, that happened for a reason. It’s too much of a coincidence to happen how it did and me to be here now.”

Southend's Daniel Bentley celebrates winning the penalty shootout and the match

Bentley was on Arsenal’s books until 2008 before being released and he joined Southend United soon after.

In an ironic twist, as Bentley started out his senior career Ottley also moved to Roots Hall as a coach.

The goalkeeper revealed: “He’s currently a coach at Southend; a local boy from Billericay. He was at Cardiff City as a scholar. I’m sure if you asked him the same he’d tell you the same story.

“It’s quite unfortunate for him. He could have been the one who went to Arsenal. He’s probably blaming his parents for taking him on holiday.

“He was at Southend with me in the last four or five years. We’ve spoken about on the Sunday League pitch and he takes it with a pinch of salt. He’s not bitter about it. He’s a good lad.”

Bentley’s main focus growing up was always football but he did have some other work experience.

He said: “Once I went around trying to wash people’s cars but didn’t get anywhere with it. People see a 14, 15 year old lad with a bucket asking to borrow their hose and charge a tenner to clean their cars.

Dan Bentley dives on the rebound after saving Tom Cairney's penalty

“Nobody took it. It’s quite lucky they didn’t as I don’t think I’d have done a great job. I’ve done work experience.

“I worked at a community centre including every sports: badminton tennis, football. There were all sorts of things there.

“I did a week at the Essex County FA just as a shredder really. I was sitting on the computer playing Miniclip games. I’ve been fortunate to come into football at an early age and stay in it.”

It’s a moot point now given that Bentley is now an established Championship goalkeeper but, if Ottley hadn’t been on holiday that day for instance, it could have been a different matter and the stopper could now be keeping criminals off the streets instead of a ball out of a net.

He explained: “When I was growing up, it was tunnel vision football. Now, I’m a man I’ve got certain interests.

“I have so much respect for police officers. I find it so interesting; the rapid response unit in cars, the traffic cops.

Police presence in West Drayton

“I’m always watching that kind of stuff. The SAS; I love all that stuff and I believe a lot of that is mental toughness which I heavily look into. Maybe something to do with that, if I had a choice.

“It’d be something I’d be interested in doing if things had gone differently. I’m proud to be where I am now.”

Could it be Chief Inspector Bentley in the future? The 23-year-old could have two decades in the game ahead of him which, as you would expect, is his primary focus.

He explained: “I don’t know. I’m so focused on my career at present. I’m not thinking about what happens after.

“I did my level two badges at Southend and my first aid. I found that interesting. Goalkeeper coaching is an obvious one which I think I’d be good at.

“I’m always trying to learn. Teaching is something I’m good at, I think. I’ve enjoyed coaching kids before.

“Policeman in the future? Don’t know if my body will let me run after people if I’ve had 25 years in the game. It’s something I’d look into. I have a great amount of respect of people who do protect our country.”