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Sunday 25 September 2016

Sherwood: Benteke's better off here

Published 15/05/2015 | 22:41

Christian Benteke has netted 12 goals since the start of March
Christian Benteke has netted 12 goals since the start of March

Tim Sherwood has warned Christian Benteke he could ruin his chances of Euro 2016 glory if he leaves Aston Villa.

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The Villa boss thinks any summer switch from Villa may harm Benteke's international ambitions.

Benteke has scored 11 goals in 10 games ahead of Saturday's trip to Southampton and has fired Villa to the brink of Barclays Premier League survival.

Belgium are joint top of Group B with Wales and look on course to qualify for next year's tournament in France.

Benteke has been linked with a move from Villa this summer after his stunning form but Sherwood has told him to stay so not to jeopardise any international dreams.

Sherwood explained: "It would be crucial for us for him to stay next season and beyond that.

"I believe it is a very poor time to leave, just before a European Championship or World Cup.

"He could go to another club, be a bit part player and then fall out of the squad for Belgium - who will be favourites to win it.

"By playing for Aston Villa it is not keeping him out of that squad is it? He is still the number one choice at number nine.

"Marc Wilmots (Belgium boss) is pleased he has got back in the team recently and is firing on all cylinders. They can only benefit from that."

Villa could clinch safety at St Mary's on Saturday and are four points above the relegation zone with two games left.

Sherwood is without Ciaran Clark and Nathan Baker (both knee) even though Baker has returning to training.

Benteke will lead the line at Southampton with Sherwood having built the team around the 24-year-old since replacing Paul Lambert in February.

And Sherwood believes his star is at the best club possible.

"I think it is a gamble for anyone to leave before a Championships - I honestly believe that," he said.

"If you are settled somewhere and scoring goals and the idea is to stay in the international squad and go there on form then better the devil you know than you don't.

"Where is he going to go that is bigger than Aston Villa? Is he guaranteed to play there? Is he guaranteed to play anywhere he goes?

"He is not guaranteed to play here - but it is the devil he knows.

"You look at strikers at all of those clubs? (Radamel) Falcao, (Mario) Balotelli, all big money strikers, new environment, it is hard, it takes time to settle.

"You don't need that time to settle when you are looking forward to a European Championship and your country is due to win it."

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