Aston Villa's in-form Christian Benteke buoyed by Jack Grealish's emergence

The teenage attacker has started his first two consecutive league games for Tim Sherwood's side.

Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke has heaped praise on teenage sensation Jack Grealish, telling the club’s official website how his introduction to the side has been a huge help towards his recent goalscoring exploits.

Grealish, 19, appeared primed for an important role in Paul Lambert’s side after making his first-team breakthrough at the start of the season but instead spent the following months either warming the bench or in the Under-21s.

However, the emerging attacker impressed new boss Tim Sherwood enough to earn his first Premier League start for last week’s visit of relegation rivals Queens Park Rangers, when his creative performance helped Benteke net a hat-trick in a 3-3 draw.

Keeping his place for the subsequent trip to Tottenham Hotspur, the former trainee put in another encouraging showing as Benteke’s first-half header sealed a crucial 1-0 win to send Villa six points clear of the drop zone.

The Belgium international has been in fine form in recent weeks, scoring eight goals in his past six appearances, and he expects to continue firing with Grealish now supporting him in a number 10 role.

In addition, he has been quick to heap praise on Sherwood for instilling the team with newfound confidence and attacking freedom and is now relishing the chance to cause an upset in the weekend’s FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool.

"I'm playing like I did before. It's not just about scoring,” said Benteke. "Jack Grealish has really stepped up and helped me.

"We needed a player behind Gabby Agbonlahor and me to give balls between the lines and Jack is doing really well. I'm happy for him and I hope he will give some assists on Sunday.

"I can play how I want to play. Every time I want to do more. I want to improve further.”

"The new gaffer gives me freedom and a lot of responsibility,” he added. "When managers say that you feel more important.

"When you play a semi-final you want to go until the end. You can't say you're happy to be in the semi-finals - we want to go all the way."

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch