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Jun 10, 2013

Withe tells Benteke to stay at Villa

Aston Villa legend Peter Withe has urged striker Christian Benteke to stay at the club for at least another year.

Benteke, 22, is considering his options after being offered a lucrative new Villa deal to try to stave off interest from clubs including Arsenal.

Withe, who scored the goal that won the European Cup for Villa in 1982, said the Belgium international should stay in the West Midlands until at least after next summer’s World Cup.

“If he plays and scores goals like he did last season, he will be in the Belgian team,” he added. “If he goes to Arsenal or wherever and plays one game in ten, is he going to go to the World Cup? I don’t think so.

“As a manager, you have to be able to keep players’ feet on the ground, and I think that’s what Paul Lambert has tried to do with him.

“Christian has got to keep his feet on the ground. He has to be realistic - and for me, his realistic thing is to stay at Aston Villa.”

Benteke scored 19 Premier League goals in his debut campaign in England, leaving him one away from becoming the first man since Withe, 31 years ago, to score 20 league goals in a season for Villa.

And Withe warned that it could be tough for the forward to replicate the impact made in his first season, adding: “It is always said that opponents get wise to you in the second season.

“He has come to the forefront, and teams, managers and centre-halves will study him a bit more. There have been games when he has come up against centre-halves who have been ready for him, and he has struggled.

“Next season, he should be saying: ‘I’ve scored 19... let’s now score 20, 21 or 22.' Hopefully, with new players coming in and the current ones having more experience, he will break the record.

“He has got to keep it going and start where he left off.”

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