Christian Benteke has come in for some criticism this season, yet the Aston Villa striker believes people sometimes forget just how young he is.
The Belgium international joined the Midlands giants in the summer of 2012, and he enjoyed a fine debut campaign in England with 19 goals in 34 appearances. This led to interest from a number of rival clubs, but despite flirting with the idea of a transfer, he instead signed a new contract to keep him at Villa until 2017.
Since penning this new lucrative deal, Benteke has struggled to recapture his best form, with his goal in the 2-1 defeat to Arsenal being just his fifth of the season and his first in 13 outings. Such form has drawn criticism from some quarters, and whilst the 23-year-old accepts he has not been at his best, he has pointed out he is still learning.
”I am still young,” he told the Birmingham Mail. “I’m still learning so I don’t worry about what people say because this is football and I know if I work I will be better. Criticism is part of football, it’s part of life. People sometimes forget I am only 23. It doesn’t matter if people criticise, I just need to do my thing and do what I can do and some days will be good and others will be bad. This is football. I have to deal with that.”
Paul Lambert will be hoping his £7million signing from Genk will get back to his best for the remainder of the season, as Villa once more find themselves battling against relegation. Their defeat to the Gunners was their fifth reverse in the last seven fixtures, and this has left them in 11th position but just five points above the drop zone.
The Scottish coach has moved to bolster his squad with two loan additions this week. Firstly Wigan Athletic forward Grant Holt, who he worked with at Norwich City, has been drafted in to provide competition for Benteke, whilst Ryan Bertrand, the left fullback, completed his temporary switch from Chelsea on Friday afternoon.