Brentford goalkeeper Dan Bentley has picked up the Goalkeeper of the Year award at the London Football Awards.

The 24-year-old has been excellent for the Bees this term as they look to push for a play-off spot in the Championship.

Bentley fought off tough competition; pipping Chelsea's Thibaut Courtois, Tottenham's Hugo Lloris and West Ham United's Adrian to the prize.

He said: “I just want to say thank you to everyone linked to to Brentford firstly as without them I wouldn't be here today.

“They've given me an opportunity to ply my trade at a fantastic level in a great division so a big thank you to everybody at the club.

“This is a fantastic event for the Willow foundation so credit goes to the organisers; Bob (Wilson) and his wife. Hopefully we can raise as much money for charity and everyone has a great night.”

Below are four reasons why Bentley deserved to win the award.

Making saves on the pitch

Dan Bentley

Bentley leaves no stone unturned in pursuit of excellence and he wants to be the best player he can be.

The goalkeeper does not care how he keeps the ball out of the net, be it with his feet, chest, hands or even head, as long as he maintains his clean sheet.

That's been shown against Birmingham on both occasions this season. With just a minute left on the clock, Brentford had the game won.

However, the Bees stopper was on hand to make crucial saves, both at St Andrews and at Griffin Park.

Had they gone in, it'd have been a moot point in dominating Brentford wins against a side that bought three Bees players in the summer.

Speaking to the goalkeeper afterwards about the saves, he commented that they were in the same league of importance as the one made against Nottingham Forest last season in the last minute.

Making saves in the pool

Bentley hasn't just made saves on the pitch. He's also been a saviour off the pitch as well.

On his summer holiday in Thailand, Bentley saved a man from drowning but, when asked about it, he considered it nothing and said anyone would have done it.

He told The Sun last year: "I was in Ko Samui, the missus and I just had a cocktail on the side of the infinity pool.

"All of a sudden, I heard this vigorous splashing. I turned round and this guy had his head up and was waving his arms.

"I said to Laura, ‘I don’t know if he’s drowning?’ She turned around and said ‘He’s drowning, you need to go and save him!’

"So I dived in and pulled him towards the shallow end and, as I was pulling him, it felt like he was pushing back against me!

"But when I lived in Hong Kong as a kid, they taught me life-saving techniques. He grabbed me really hard, and I was thinking ‘What’s this guy doing?’

"But afterwards, I realised he must just have been so scared that he just grabbed on to anything he could to try to help himself.

"I said to him, ‘Are you all right?’ He was coughing and then said, ‘Yeah, I’m fine’. So I said, ‘You do know that’s two-and-a-half metres deep there, if you can’t swim then stay away from it’.

"He was obviously in shock because he was really pale. He said he was fine and then walked off — but came back 15 minutes later and thanked me, shook my hand.

"He asked me what I do and I told him I was a footballer.

"He said, ‘Brentford have got a new fan now, I will watch you from afar’."

Bill Shankly is wrong. This is certainly Bentley's most important save.


Matt Doherty tries to beat Dan Bentley

Of the nominees, Bentley was the youngest, over a year younger than Thibaut Courtois, and he will only get better.

Goalkeepers don't reach their prime until much later than outfield players and the Bees ace has already shown his abilities in, arguably, the most intense league in the world.

Bentley is Premier League bound sooner rather than later and the regular three game weeks in the Championship will stand him in good stead.

Wojciech Szczesny, the man set to succeed Gianluigi Buffon at Juventus, spent most of the 2009/10 season on loan at Brentford and Bees fans were worried how he would ever be replaced.

However, since then, they were concerned by Richard Lee's injuries, Simon Moore's departure but, with Bentley already in place, David Button's exit for Fulham was not one that led to much hand-wringing.

Bentley has shown the same qualities of Szczesny during his time at the club and will only get better.

Onto the radar

Bentley is a player on the rise at a club that have been on an upward trajectory for the last few years. His performances have made more people open their eyes to what is going on at Griffin Park.

Brentford remain an unfashionable club and still generally overlooked by those who can't see beyond Premier League names.

For the relative money they've spent, they deserve plenty of praise as they have consistently bettered clubs with much bigger budgets.

But Bentley will show help the Bees show them the folly of their ways, sooner rather than later.

This will be one of many external awards nights Bentley will be invited to and he'll be able to hone the art of acceptance speeches.

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