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Southampton v Villa: Benteke has been a "handful" in training
Paul Lambert on Christian Benteke.
21st Sep 2012
Southampton v Villa: Benteke has been a "handful" in training


By Paul Brown

Paul Lambert says he's been thrilled with Christian Benteke in the run-up to the Southampton game, hailing him as a "handful" for defenders in training this week.

Benteke will be pushing for a start at St Mary's after excelling in a twenty-minute cameo against Swansea.

Lambert says Benteke needs to brush up on his language skills but, for the moment, he can do all his talking out on the pitch.

Despite the new hero status he has received from the fans, Lambert did warn that Benteke shouldn't be viewed as Villa's "saviour."

He said: "Christian doesn't really say much. Once he settles and grasps the language well, he will be fine.

"But as a footballer on that pitch, you don't need to speak. You know exactly what you're doing.

"He was a handful the other weekend and he's been a handful in training this week.

"He's only 21 though, people have to remember that. He's only a kid learning his game. He will make mistakes like everybody else.

"I am not putting too much emphasis on him, in terms of him being the saviour, not at all. But he will certainly help the team.

"And his role for the last 15 minutes or so was excellent against Swansea. He really was. He had played a hard game for the national team in the week so to come on and do what he did for us was excellent.

"There's competition up there, which is great. Christian has played as a lone striker before with his national team so I have no problem in terms of whatever system I play.

"Gabby has been injured and then was on the bench. You need everybody at the football club going the same way.

"Christian will certainly give us a hand. There's no two ways about it, he's a big presence up there and his presence alone will unnerve a few people."

Lambert believes Benteke will be able to release the tension from Darren Bent's shoulders as the star striker hunts goals.

He added: "All I ever heard was 'Darren Bent, scoring, scoring, scoring' and hopefully having Christian will release that tension from it.

"But you need everybody to perform and in the last few weeks we've certainly had that. Darren's been fine, I've not sensed any 'downness' from him at all."

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