Lambert acted quickly on Benteke

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert says it took him less than a day to convince Christian Benteke to withdraw his transfer request.

Last Updated: 18/10/13 at 23:32 Post Comment

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Christian Benteke: Could return for Asto

Christian Benteke: Could return for Asto

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has revealed it took him less than a day to convince Christian Benteke to withdraw his transfer request.

Lambert is considering throwing the striker back into action against one of the clubs who chased the Belgian sensation last summer when Villa host Tottenham on Sunday.

Benteke scored 19 Barclays Premier League goals in a superb debut season in England last year, sparking interest from a number of so-called bigger clubs.

Spurs were strongly linked to the Belgium forward and apparently made an enquiry - though not a formal bid - while Benteke himself handed in a transfer request amidst feverish speculation.

However, Tottenham's interest was rebuffed and Lambert returned from his summer holiday to quickly convince the popular 22-year-old to stay put and remain loyal to the club who gave him his big break.

"It took me a day to sort it," said the Scot.

"I bolted the door and I had Mike Tyson in one corner!

"He's a good guy and I never had a problem. I never said anything that will shock you, I just had a chat with him to see where he was.

"He's still really young in football terms but he was good about it.

"Randy Lerner (chairman) and Paul Faulkner (chief executive) have been great and they left it to myself to decide what was happening. They never said anything.

"I speak to Randy a lot and Paul every day. They trusted me which is great.

"Christian probably had it from all directions and was asked all sorts of questions but the crowd are brilliant with him.

"I said to him: 'Keep doing what you're doing and you'll be fine."'

Lambert added: "I think (the transfer request) was out of character. He has a good family behind him and he's not that type of guy. He's a nice, really humble guy and if he keeps working hard we can see where his career ends up.

"Nearly every team alive came in for him. Some teams you don't bother with. Unless I hear it from someone's mouth I don't think differently.

"You can read speculation all you want but unless I hear it directly it won't faze me. It never really prayed on my mind.

"I'm pretty sure it was the speculation that got to him. Speculation, whether it's wrong or right, they see it in black and white and believe it must be true."

Such speculation never concerned Lambert, even when the phone was ringing off the hook as he sunned himself abroad somewhere.

"I was not aware we got a bid," he revealed. "That's why it did not bother me.

"I was on holiday. It was nothing, that's why I was not bothered.

"His career has escalated very quickly, probably quicker than he thought. He has so much of his career in front of him and a season before the World Cup is vital for any player."

As for possible renewed interest next summer, Lambert said: "It depends on how he does in the World Cup but it is a good problem to have."


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