Aston Villa forward Andreas Weimann has hailed Christian Benteke’s positive attitude during his six-month spell on the sidelines.
Benteke, 23, resumed full training two weeks ago for the first time since rupturing his Achilles tendon in April, before playing just over an hour for the club’s U21s on Monday in a 3-0 win over Bolton Wanderers.
Now in contention to feature in Saturday’s Premier League clash at home to Manchester City, Weimann admits that the Belgian striker’s looming first-team return has given the entire club a major lift, and can’t wait to line-up alongside his fellow front man once again.
‘It's been great to have Christian back with the group,’ he told the club’s official website.
‘He came back into training a couple of weeks ago and that was a big lift for everybody, to have Christian fully involved again and training with the lads.
‘It must have been brilliant for him, too, because it's been a long journey, six months of hard work to get back involved.
‘It's hard to be out for just one or two weeks through injury, so to be out for that length of time is a real test of character.
‘All you want to do is play football, it's what we all love to do, so not being able to do that for any length of time is massively frustrating.
‘Christian had a big smile on his face when he walked out with the lads again that first morning he was back and he was able to play in the U21 game on Monday.
‘He's made great progress to get back playing.
‘Christian's a great player, a fantastic team-mate and a big favourite with the fans.
‘He's a top-class centre-forward who brings pace, power and skill on to the pitch and he can score goals.
‘Whenever it is that the manager brings him back in, it will be great for him and the team.’
Benteke’s eventual return to the lineup might not be such good news for Weimann, however, with the Austrian international the likeliest contender to drop to the bench to accommodate the imposing marksman.