Belfast Telegraph

Yorke: Benteke needs penalty break

Former Aston Villa striker Dwight Yorke believes manager Paul Lambert should consider relieving Christian Benteke of penalty-taking duties.

Belgium international Benteke, who scored 19 league goals last term, has missed twice from the spot for his club this season - once in the opening-day victory over Arsenal, and then during last month's home defeat to Everton.

Benteke nodded in the rebound after his spot-kick was saved against the Gunners, but his failure from 12 yards against Everton came when the score was still goalless.

Yorke, who was a regular penalty taker for Villa during his decade with the club before a big-money move to Manchester United in 1998, said: "If you missed two penalties and it has cost your team - at Villa in particular because their results have not been great of late - if you're a manager I would try to get somebody else on it.

"As much as he is fantastic and the talisman in that team at the moment, if he is missing the opportunity you need to reassess.

"He should keep practising but as a manager you always need to have (a second penalty taker). Where there's a plan A there should be a plan B - Paul Lambert doesn't need me to tell him that.

"It's easy for me to sit here and say this person or that person should take penalties. But only the manager can stare their players in the eyes and see if they are ready to take penalties."

Benteke has become Villa's regular spot-kick taker, with that responsibility previously falling to the likes of Darren Bent, Barry Bannan and Gareth Barry - all of whom have left Villa Park.

Yorke was also occasionally found wanting from 12 yards, although fans still recall his cheeky chipped penalty against Sheffield United in 1996 with fondness.

The former Villa number 10, who was speaking at the World Travel Market in London where he is an ambassador for Trinidad and Tobago, said: "Penalties are all about confidence. As a striker you ought to be taking them.

"You have to give goalkeepers credit sometimes.

"But it is about confidence - if you're scoring week-in, week-out and you can convert them with your eyes closed... when things are not going for you then obviously there is a downturn in confidence.

"You want to do the right thing and when you miss your confidence goes further.

"That's the nature of the game. If you miss, you want to get up and take that next one. The only way you will do that is by practising."

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