Ex-Villa boss Paul Lambert: Timing of Christian Benteke news is worrying

Former Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert is surprised that news surrounding Christian Benteke possibly leaving the club has come out so close to Saturday's FA Cup final.

Paul Lambert managed Aston Villa between June 2012 and February 2015, before being sacked and replaced by Tim Sherwood.

After a difficult first half of the season for Lambert's Villa this term, relegation was not out of the question. His method of football, as a manager, was to keep the ball in his own half for long periods before hitting the opposition on the counter attack. Sherwood, on the other hand, is more attack minded and, as a result, has got more out of Tom Cleverley and Christian Benteke.

Sherwood is an honest character. In his pre-FA Cup press conference, the 46-year-old revealed that Villa may not be able to prevent Benteke from leaving the club due to the striker's buy-out clause, as per the BBC.

It was Lambert that brought Benteke to Villa from Genk in August 2012 for £7m.

"I'm surprised by the timing of it, a day before the cup final," Lambert told Sky Sports News. "That's the surprising thing.

"I fought tooth and nail to keep Christian there from day one because he was playing that well in his first year.

"The second year he had his (Achilles) injury and there were so many teams looking at him, calling for him, and I dug my heels in because I thought it was the best thing for Aston Villa for Christian to stay.

"I always used to say to him, 'give me one more year, one more year' and he was great with it and I'm delighted he's turning out to be the player I always thought he could be."

Benteke scored 26 goals in 44 appearances for Villa in his first season but started the campaign just finished on a dry spell. When Sherwood took charge as manager, however, the Belgian began firing on all cylinders again, plundering 12 goals in 12 games ahead of the FA Cup final.

The 24-year-old's recent run of form does not surprise Lambert.

"It took him a few months to find his feet in the Premier League," Lambert added. "I know he scored on his debut, but he then had a bit of a barren spell.

"Christian Benteke in his first year was incredible, only behind Ronaldo and Messi in the scoring charts at that time, so we always knew he could perform.

"What I'm saying now, doesn't change my opinion of him because I know what he can do."

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