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Sherwood: Benteke must stay at Villa

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood has urged in-form striker Christian Benteke to remain at the club, warning the Belgium international of the consequences that may follow with a move away.

Benteke is a wanted man after returning to his best form under Sherwood, scoring 12 goals in as many matches to help catapult Villa clear of the Premier League relegation zone, while steering the Birmingham club to a FA Cup final showdown with Arsenal on May 30.

But Sherwood stressed that a Villa Park exit may jeopardise the player’s Euro 2016 chances, highlighting the form of Radamel Falcao (Manchester United) and Mario Balotelli (Liverpool) this season.

“It would be crucial for us for him to stay next season and beyond that,” said Sherwood, whose Villa travel to Southampton on Saturday.

“I believe it is a very poor time to leave, just before a European Championship or World Cup.

“He could go to another club, be a bit-part player and then fall out of the squad for Belgium – who may be favourites to win it.

“[Belgium coach] Marc Wilmots is pleased he has got back in the team recently and is firing on all cylinders. They can only benefit from that.

“I think it is a gamble for anyone to leave before a Championships – I honestly believe that.

“If you are settled somewhere and scoring goals and the idea is to stay in the international squad and go there on form, then better the devil you know than you don’t.

“Is he guaranteed to play anywhere he goes? Look at strikers at some clubs. Falcao, Balotelli, all big money strikers, new environment, it is hard, it takes time to settle.”

Fri 15 May, 2015
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