Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood has said that he never claimed to be the man behind Christian Benteke’s revival and dismissed any suggestion of criticising the striker’s Liverpool move, the Mirror report.
The two men have become embroiled in a petty war of words following Benteke’s decision to leave Villa for Liverpool this summer, starting with an apparent jibe over the striker’s one-dimensional play.
The Belgian international’s excellent run of form last season coincided with Sherwood’s arrival at Villa Park, prompting talk of the Villa boss performing miracles with an out-of-form striker.
As per a previous report in the Mirror, Benteke took exception to this and criticised the former Tottenham Hotspur manager for taking too much credit for his scoring exploits and belittling his style of play.
Yet, as the saga drags on, Sherwood has responded by informing reporters that he never claimed to be the instigator behind the 24-year-old’s form and ensuing remarks regarding his Anfield switch.
“I took no credit, people gave me credit, I didn’t take it, I didn’t ask for it. I would try anything to make him stay but I don’t remember ever saying he shouldn’t go and play for Liverpool. I wouldn’t be that disrespectful to that football club,” he explained.
Possible clash of styles?
While Sherwood claims not to have advised Benteke against joining Liverpool due to a clash of styles, the point still stands that their differences could prove rather problematic.
Benteke is a wonderful goal scorer, yet his attributes of being a physical striker with excellent abilities as a target man seemingly don’t coincide with Brendan Rodgers’ philosophy of speed and movement.
The Reds’ previous success came as a result of interchanging strikers, working the spaces and high-pressure out of possession in the final third – Is Benteke that sort of striker?
Evidently, he isn’t and it begs the question of how Rodgers intends to get the best out of him while also deploying players like Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino, who excel through the middle.