Westwood: Benteke has fear factor

Date published: Wednesday 28th January 2015 9:29

Westwood: Benteke has fear factor

Benteke has 12 goals in his last 12 games heading into the Wembley showdown, including one in their 2-1 semi-final win over Liverpool in April which helped to fire Villa into their first FA Cup final for 15 years.

And the Aston Villa midfielder has backed his team mate to terrorise the Gunners defence in the capital this weekend.

He believes Benteke has his fear factor back after struggling for form and fitness before Tim Sherwood’s arrival following an Achilles injury over a year ago.

He said: “I’m sure he does. I think he’s back to full fitness now, he was struggling with his Achilles early on and people didn’t see that, they just expected him to walk back in and fire in the goals.

“But he’s back to his best now, bullying defenders and I’m sure they’ll have sleepless nights, they won’t want to be playing against him.

“We know how good we are, if we play like we can do we can match anyone. We’ve got internationals throughout the team, Fabs (Fabian Delph) and Clevs (Tom Cleverley) are on form, Christian is a real handful for anyone, I’m sure they’ll be having sleepless nights about him.”

Benteke spearheaded Villa’s recovery under Sherwood as they survived in the Premier League, eventually finishing 17th following Sunday’s 1-0 final-day defeat to Burnley.

He and academy product Jack Grealish were trusted by Sherwood to keep Villa up, with the latter becoming a regular.

Grealish shone during Villa’s semi-final at Wembley, setting up Delph’s winner, and Westwood believes the 19-year-old is in line for stardom.

“He’s a special talent, the way he just glides past you in training, you feel like whacking him, he floats past you with his hair,” said the 25-year-old. “He’s a great lad, I’m sure he could be our matchwinner at the end of the day.

“He’s a Villa fan, Villa through and through. He said he used to stand on the Holte End, to have a fan in your team, that’s what you’d want on FA Cup final day. But he does need to forget he’s a fan, he’s a professional player now.

“In training, as soon as you saw him you knew he had something. On that FA Cup semi-final the whole world was watching him, and I thought he was man of the match.

“He believes in his ability and so he should, he’s a special talent and he’s got the world at his feet. If he can keep playing like that, he can go anywhere.”

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