Saturday media watch [20.04.13]: Benteke to continue progress
Daily Star: Rising star Christian Benteke has been told to make sure he is not a one-season wonder. The powerhouse Aston Villa striker has rattled in 15 league goals in a fantastic debut season. Benteke, 22, is one of the leading contenders to land the PFA Young Player of the Year award. Villa boss Paul Lambert couldn't be happier with his £7m buy but has told his Belgian star to keep turning it on.
Daily Mail: Paul Lambert registered little surprise at Christian Benteke's nomination for the PFA young player of the year yesterday but asked Aston Villa's top scorer to guard against becoming a one-season wonder. Benteke, 22, has scored 19 goals so far, including 15 in the Premier League, and been the major reason why Lambert's side has managed to claw themselves clear of trouble in the Premier League. His physical presence has also allowed others to flourish. But Villa's boss remained phlegmatic at the announcement, instead urging Benteke to carry on his good work.
Birmingham Mail: Paul Lambert is reluctant to claim credit for Christian Benteke's rise to prominence, insisting the PFA Young Player of the Year award nominee deserves all the plaudits himself. Lambert joked that the only reward he wanted was for Benteke to remember him with a few complimentary tickets to games when the Villa manager retires from football. Benteke's brilliant debut season in the Premier League has been recognised by his fellow pros, who have short-listed him alongside Eden Hazard, Gareth Bale, Romelu Lukaku, Danny Welbeck and Jack Wilshere for the young player accolade.
Birmingham Mail: Stiliyan Petrov and Ashley Young were team-mates in the last Villa side to celebrate victory on Manchester United territory in 2009. On Monday evening, the duo will be united again at Old Trafford - well, Young will be United, Petrov remains claret and blue through and through. Thankfully, Villa's club captain is getting stronger after completing a gruelling course of treatment in his battle against acute leukaemia and will be cheering his team on against the champions elect. Petrov will be there as a guest of friend and former claret and blue colleague Young, who will be sat in the stands alongside him after injury ruled him out of the Red Devils' title charge. Young has developed a reputation for gambolling rather than gambling, but Petrov has had a cheeky wager with the winger that his old club can sneak a result against the leaders.
Birmingham Mail: Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is certain Villa will benefit from Paul Lambert's strategy to give youth a chance - whether they remain in the Premier League or not. Despite picking up ten points from their last five games, Villa remain in bother at the bottom of the league, just three points above the drop zone. Indeed, if Wigan win at West Ham today, Lambert's side will be back in the third relegation spot ahead of Monday's trip to champions-elect Manchester United. Yet even if they lose their survival fight, Ferguson is adamant there will be a positive spin-off from Lambert's first season in charge.
Birmingham Mail: Villa are hoping Gabby Agbonlahor will be fit enough to be their Old Trafford talisman again after resuming training. Agbonlahor is the only claret and blues player to score in a win away at Manchester United in the past 30 years after his goal in a 1-0 victory in 2009. The Brummie's fine run of form - four goals in seven games - was halted by a groin injury that ruled him out of last weekend's draw against Fulham. But he returned to training at Bodymoor Heath yesterday and will be assessed over the weekend ahead of Monday's match.
Irish Examiner: Republic of Ireland international central defender Richard Dunne must "wait and see" if he gets a new contract at Aston Villa. Dunne, 33, has not played since last summer's European Championships due to hip and groin problems that have required three operations. Villa manager Paul Lambert has admitted that Dunne is unlikely to play at all this season — and is giving no clues as to whether he will get a new deal when his current deal expires this summer.
Telegraph: Richard Dunne is facing the end of his Aston Villa career after Paul Lambert revealed he will not play again this season. Dunne has finally been ruled out of Lambert's plans after struggling with persistent hip and groin injuries and is expected to leave in the summer. The Republic of Ireland international's contract expires at the end of this season and he has not kicked a ball since Lambert's appointment last June. And though Lambert insists no decision has been made on extending Dunne's four-year stay, the 33 year-old's chances of a new deal appear remote.
Express & Star: Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert today ruled Richard Dunne out for the rest of the season. The Ireland defender hasn't played since Euro 2012 and has had three operations to try to cure a groin problem. But with five games of the Premier League season left Lambert admitted Dunne will not play again this term.
*The extracts on this page are taken from various newspapers and media outlets. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aston Villa.
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