Christian Benteke set to make Villa return after nearly six-month absence
Manager Paul Lambert will have Christian Benteke available for selection after nearly a six month spell on the sidelines with a torn Achilles tendon.
After suffering the injury in training in early April, Benteke missed the World Cup and has not yet played this season.
The towering Belgian striker will be a massive boost for an Aston Villa side that has 10 points thus far to put them in sixth place in the Premier League table, but has only managed four goals in its first six matches.He played 63 minutes for the club’s U-21 side earlier today and scored a penalty.
“Christian played for about an hour today and we’re delighted with how he came through the game,” manager Paul Lambert told reporters on Monday. “It was great to see him back out there and he played well in the time he was on the pitch. He scored a goal, which is great for him, and his general play was good, too, considering how long he’s been away from it.
“We’ll see how he feels tomorrow and how he recovers but it was a good, positive step for him today. It will have given him a lift to get out there and play and score a goal and that’s great for him.”
Benteke has given Premier League sides plenty of trouble since his arrival in 2012, scoring 29 goals in 60 Premier League appearances, including scores against Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool last season before his injury.
There’s no guarantee he will be in the squad straight away, with Villa’s home match against Manchester City coming up this weekend, but Lambert will assess the situation during the week.
“I’ll have that dialogue with him,” Lambert said. “We’ll see how he feels. If we think he’s justified to go in with his fitness levels then that’s something that myself and the staff will decide. First and foremost I don’t think there’s any pressure on him. You don’t heap pressure on somebody who’s just coming back from that injury.”