Lambert hails Benteke
Paul Lambert has pinpointed Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke as a candidate for the PFA Player of The Year award shortlist.
Lambert admits the winner of the prestigious award is likely to be one from Robin van Persie, Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez after their feats with Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool.
But the Villa manager named Benteke when asked for his list of potential candidates for the final list from which the winner will be decided, saying: "Has Benteke an outside chance? I don't know. He's had a great season, Christian, but I also think the lad at Swansea (Michu) has had a great season. I think people will look at the big three, Van Persie, Bale and Suarez, to maybe get it."
Benteke made an £8million move from Genk to Villa last summer and has so far scored 15 goals, forming an effective partnership with 10-goal Andreas Weimann.
The Belgian has inevitably been the subject of speculation linking him with potential moves away from Villa this summer.
Lambert said: "Will Benteke be coveted by a lot of clubs? It's a hard one to say because he has only been here for a few months, less than a year.
"I don't know whether people will say 'Let's see how he does next year', or do they go, 'We'll take a chance'.
"I don't think you can stop clubs from trying to make a bid for him.
"I can't stop that, but the fact is that the big lad has three years left (of his contract), he's only 22, and he has been playing well.
"They might take a punt. He has a few years left here. It's not something I worry about. I know he has been playing well."