Lambert: Benteke needs 'reality check'

  • Last Updated: May 24 2013, 17:33 BST

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has warned Christian Benteke he faces a "reality check" after reports suggesting the striker could be keen to leave the club.

Christian Benteke: Quoted as saying he could leave Villa this summer
Christian Benteke: Quoted as saying he could leave Villa this summer

The 22-year-old old Belgian scored 19 goals in his first season in the Barclays Premier League and has been linked with a move away from Villa Park.

But Lambert, who said talks had already begun over improving Benteke's existing contract which has three years left to run, insisted the player still has plenty more to prove.

Lambert told talkSPORT: "I don't really 100 per cent know what's happened but he's got three years here at Aston Villa and the club have always come first.

"He's had one of those seasons where he's never really been injured and he's never been suspended except the last day.

"It's a unique thing, and he's got to remember that he's only 22 years of age - he's got so much to learn.

"He's only a kid starting out and he's going to have ups and downs like everybody else. Once he starts to play 400 or 500 games you might think, 'yeah, he's right good player'.

"I think sometimes we've got to have a reality check here. This lad's only been in Britain for 10 months. He's got the status at Aston Villa and everybody loves him."

Benteke was quoted in the Sun saying he would jump at the chance to join a bigger club to help his ambitions of reaching the 2016 World Cup.

Quoted in the newspaper, Benteke said: "If Aston Villa say I must stay, I won't necessarily accept that.

"I do not in any way want to feel I didn't get the most out of my career. I try to get everything.

"Of course playing the World Cup in Rio is in my head. But I have no fear of falling out of the team. There is no point in me getting into a tug-of-war with Villa.

"If the chance comes up for me to join a club like Arsenal, I'm convinced we can reach a compromise where everyone comes out a winner."

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(reopens) Benteke's agent, Kismet Eris, said the forward would only want to leave Villa if there was a chance to join a team competing at the top level in Europe.

"He's more than happy to stay if he has to stay," Eris told Sky Sports News.

"But we all know he had a good season and it's normal that maybe other teams are more interested in him, and he might be interested to play European football which is his right.

"If there is a team, a bigger team playing European football next season, that shows interest to Villa concerning Christian, I would be lying if I said Christian would ignore that.

"But at the same time Villa have the right to say whatever is going to happen with Christian next year, and Christian will have his word also because it's his career.

"It's no use with all respect to go to Southampton or Norwich. If he can improve himself in a footballistic way, okay, why not? But it's up to Aston Villa and that supposed team to get an agreement.

"At this moment nothing is happening. Let's wait a week or two and then we will see what can happen."

Eris accepts Benteke has a lot to thank Lambert for.

He said: "I think it's a very good relationship that they have, like father and son. Christian is very grateful to Mr Paul Lambert for all the trust that he gave him."