Benteke enlists help of mental coach

Matt Stead
Christian Benteke

Christian Benteke has undertaken training on the mental side of his game with a sports coach in order to deal with the pressure of playing for Liverpool.

The Belgian forward has scored just one goal in four Premier League appearances since joining Liverpool from Aston Villa for £32.5million this summer.

To help adapt to life at a bigger club, Benteke has enlisted the help of renowned sports mental coach Michel Bruyninckx – a former colleague at Standard Liege – in order to understand how to deal with the pressures of life at Anfield.

“When he was a boy in Belgium, he changed regularly from one club to another, because he only had one profile — as a physically strong player,” Bruyninckx told the Mirror.

“I tried to encourage him then to expand his mind to see that he must not accept those labels and that he could continuously change his skills, and the way he learned to think has been enormously important to his career.

“I hear people say he is not a Liverpool type of player, but I tell you that he can adapt to any club.

“This challenge is not new for him. For many years, people tried to convince Christian he was only a physical player but, through his mental power, he has changed all that.”

Bruyninckx, who assisted numerous Belgian internationals with similar issues, remains confident that the 24-year-old can live up to his valuation under Brendan Rodgers despite his early struggles.

“When you watch him in the national team, you can see that, technically, he is skilled, he is creative, he is intelligent. I fully believe that, through Liverpool, he will go to a higher level again.

“Step by step, he has ­understood that the modern game requires other things and his mental endurance and mental power has changed a lot,” Bruyninckx added.

“When I spoke with him, when he gave me the call, I said, ‘Listen, Christian, you have to work on it, and that will open your world. If you decide yourself, then you can go to anything.’

“One of his major points is that he has a broad mindset. He is open to learn every day of his life.

“We understand, more and more, that the capacity of the brain is remarkable and, once a player is aware how the game is played in the head, he can evolve continuously.”