Lambert unnerved as Benteke limps off early against Luton
By Oliver Wilson
Paul Lambert is not worried about the fitness of his star striker Christian Benteke despite the forward limping off after just 45 minutes during Aston Villa’s pre-season friendly loss to Luton Town on Tuesday night.
The Belgian international striker, who signed a four year contract extension with the club last week, was in poor form agains the conference side and was substituted earlier than the rest of the Villa side, who saw a further ten substitutions made on the hour mark.
“It’s just another fitness thing,” said the former European Cup winner.
“The major thing is Christian is back.”
The hotly touted young forward was a revelation in the Midlands last season after joining the club last season, firing 19 goals in his first season in England. He looked, however, off form against the non-league side and struggled to create shooting opportunities against a stern defence that refused to lie down, despite the friendly nature of the fixture.
Lambert, though, remained confident about his striker and was impressed with the forwards first run out of the pre-season.
“Some of Christian’s touches were brilliant,” cooed the manager.
“That’s his first 45 minutes and he’s done a little bit of training. He still has to get match fit but that first 45 minutes under his belt will have done him good.”
With four draws and one loss from their opening five games of the pre-season, it appears that Villa still have plenty of work to do before their season opener with Arsenal in just under a months time, and the Villa manager can’t wait for the intensity of the season to start.
“You just want the games to start for real now.”