Belfast Telegraph

Yorke: Benteke needs time

Dwight Yorke has insisted Christian Benteke must be given time to return to top form at Aston Villa.

The ex-Villa hitman has called on the team to help ease the pressure on the striker after his injury lay-off.

Benteke is in contention to make his comeback after almost six months out with a ruptured Achilles in Saturday's home clash with Manchester City.

He has scored 34 goals in 67 games for Villa and played a key role in their survival in the Barclays Premier League since his £7million switch from Genk in 2012.

And Yorke insisted, despite a positive start to the new season which sees Villa sit sixth, the returning 23-year-old cannot be expected to shoulder the burden on his own.

"The last two or three seasons have not been great and there was one in particular where Benteke kept them up. People in the team need to be doing a bit more for me," he said.

"Winning football matches breeds confidence within the club. Benteke was a breath of fresh air when he first came in and everyone started playing to a certain level and I've not seen that when he's been injured.

"Villa are going through a difficult run of games but have got off to a good start and hopefully they can come through the next couple and progress."

Benteke scored a penalty in Villa's 3-0 under-21 win over Bolton on Monday as he neared a comeback from the injury which forced him to miss Belgium's World Cup campaign.

He scored 11 goals last term before being ruled out in April and also suffered a hip problem during the season.

His debut year, 2012-13, saw the striker smash 23 goals but ex-Manchester United ace Yorke believes he must be granted patience now.

"It's been a long time and he has to take it easy but it is good news for Villa," he told Press Association Sport.

"He had an amazing first season and there's always one unknown candidate who comes in who people are not sure of, like (Leonardo) Ulloa at Leicester this season.

"There are always questions of whether he could do it the next year but unfortunately the injury knocked him down, he missed the World Cup and dropped behind (Romelu) Lukaku (for Belgium)."

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