Paul Lambert on the phone call which convinced him to sign Christian Benteke for Aston Villa

Villa Park

Christian Benteke spent three years with Aston Villa after signing, scoring 49 times in 100 appearances.

Paul Lambert has told BBC Sport's Match of the Day 2 Extra that a phone-call with Belgium coach Marc Wilmots was crucial to him bringing Christian Benteke to Aston Villa. 

Lambert signed Benteke for Villa back in 2012, when the striker was a relatively unknown talent, playing for Genk in his homeland. 

He turned out to be arguably the best buy that Lambert completed during his time with Villa, but the deal only went through on the recommendation of Wimots. 

"I remember signing Christian Benteke. We had watched him, but I had to go to someone I could really trust," Lambert said. "In the end I sent my old assistant manager at [Borussia] Dortmund to scout him for me. I said what do you think of him, and his words were that he was 'interesting'. 

"I then phoned Marc Wilmots to get another reference on him and he said 'take him, for amount of money you are buying him for he'll do great for you'. When I bought him he was only 20 years of age."

Wilmots' prediction turned out to be a correct one, as Benteke became Villa's main man for three seasons. 

The powerful forward scored 49 goals in 100 games during his three years with the Claret and Blues, before moving to Liverpool in the summer transfer window.

Benteke has made a decent start at Liverpool, where he has scored two goals in his first six games, but he is currently injured.

With Daniel Sturridge returning to fitness for the Reds, it means that he will have to hit the ground running when he makes it off the treatment table to win his place back in the team at Anfield. 

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