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Lambert: Benteke staying at Villa

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has quashed speculation linking striker Christian Benteke with a move away from the club in the off-season.

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has quashed speculation linking striker Christian Benteke with a move away from the club in the off-season.

The Belgian international has notched 15 goals for Villa since his seven-million pound move from Genk, and has reportedly attracted interest from several English Premier League clubs.

Lambert is unmoved by such speculation, and is adamant the 22-year-old will remain at the club for the foreseeable future.

“Christian is playing very well for us and that’s the main thing. It doesn’t concern me who he is linked with and who he is not linked with,” Lambert told reporters ahead of Saturday’s trip to Arsenal.

“It proves he’s doing well for me and doing well for himself. That doesn’t interest me, what other people think. I don’t read the headlines. I just get told.

“As far as I’m concerned, the guy is here and he isn’t going anywhere until I say so or not really. That’s the bottom line.”

Villa have found themselves in a fight for Premier League survival for the second season running, with goals from Benteke contributing to just under half of their total league tally of 25.

But Lambert has warned the striker that he must continue to keep his performance levels up if he is to fulfil his potential.

Lambert said: “He’s a really top lad, really humble and, if he keeps doing what he’s doing, he’ll be a top, top player.

“The big lad has been phenomenal for us. He is 22, he has got so much to learn and so much to give to the game.

“What he has done for this club, in the short time he has been here, he has got to sustain that, not just over a year – it has got to be for the rest of his career.”

Fri 22 February, 2013
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