Belfast Telegraph

Benteke vows to get better

Christian Benteke has vowed to prove his commitment to Aston Villa after dealing a blow to his potential suitors by performing a sudden U-turn and agreeing to stay at the club.

The striker has withdrawn his transfer request and agreed a new deal at Villa Park until 2017.

The 22-year-old's change of heart came after a "full and frank discussion" with manager Paul Lambert

He said on the club's official website: "I spoke with the manager when I returned to training and we had a good talk. I am very happy to be back here in Birmingham and at Aston Villa, and to sign a new contract.

"This is a great club and it has given me a lot. Now I have to give back to my team-mates and the fans who have always been right behind me.

"The end of last season was very good and the lads were very strong. It was not easy but we came through it and the confidence is high. So everyone knows what we have to do now - be better. I need to be better than last year."

Keeping Benteke is a huge coup for Villa, with the Belgium international establishing himself as one of the Barclays Premier League's most feared strikers in his first season at the club.

It was less than two weeks ago that Villa confirmed he had asked to leave.

Lambert said: "I had a full and frank discussion with Christian Benteke on his return to training this week regarding his future. It is my opinion that the best thing for Christian is to remain at Aston Villa.

"He enjoyed a terrific first season at the club and can use that as a platform to hopefully enjoy more success this season.

"I'm delighted, having time to re-evaluate his future, Christian has decided to commit to the club. It's a huge bonus and I'm sure the supporters are every bit as delighted as me to have him on board and raring to go."

Signed from Genk last summer, Benteke scored 19 Premier League goals to help keep the midlands club in the top flight.

It was in general a season of struggle for Villa, who battled relegation for much of the campaign before finishing five points clear of the drop.

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