Tuesday 20 March 2018

Sherwood dismisses Benteke remarks

Tim Sherwood is only focussing on players still at Aston Villa
Tim Sherwood is only focussing on players still at Aston Villa

Tim Sherwood has dismissed Christian Benteke's veiled dig at his role in the striker's revival at Aston Villa.

The striker questioned the amount of praise Sherwood received for his part in Benteke's form at the end of last season before he left for Liverpool.

He scored eight goals in his last eight games to keep Villa up before moving to Anfield for £32.5million last month after the Reds activated a release clause in his contract.

In May the boss suggested Benteke may not suit a team who do not cross the ball, a reference widely believed to be directed at Liverpool.

It prompted a response from Benteke on Thursday, ahead of his anticipated debut at Stoke on Sunday, as he vowed to prove Sherwood he could fit into the Reds' system and played down his influence.

But Sherwood has brushed off any criticism from his former striker.

"I took no credit, people gave me it, I didn't ask for it," he said, ahead of Villa's opening day trip to Bournemouth on Saturday.

"I would try anything to make him stay but I don't remember ever saying you shouldn't go and play for Liverpool. I wouldn't be that disrespectful to another football club.

"I would certainly have given him the reasons why I think he should stay at Aston Villa. I said that last season. To score at the ratio he was scoring last season wouldn't be the end of the world for him.

"It is up to Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers to decide how they want to play Christian Benteke. He is no interest to me now. I am looking at what we have here."

Sherwood has signed Jordan Ayew, Jordan Amavi, Idrissa Gueye from Ligue 1 in France while also bringing in Rudy Gestede from Blackburn.

And the boss admits he has taken a gamble not signing players with proven top flight experience.

He said: "It is always a risk but it is still a risk if you are bringing in established Premier League players as sometimes they go to clubs and don't fit. It is a risk either way.

"I felt it was needed. It was a gambled that needed to be taken. When you lose your two best players you are going to have to replenish it with a few others."

Sherwood will assess the fitness of the majority of his new boys but Micah Richards is expected to make his bow after signing on a free from Manchester City while Jores Okore is out with a knee injury.

Press Association

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