Christian Benteke can have 'big future' says Aston Villa team-mate Gabriel Agbonlahor

 

Gabriel Agbonlahor is predicting a “big future” for Aston Villa newcomer and fellow striker Christian Benteke.

Villa boss Paul Lambert secured the services of one of his leading summer targets in Benteke on the final day of the transfer window in a £7million deal.

The Belgium international has quickly showed his potential and on Tuesday his two goals at Swindon sealed a 3-2 win for Villa and a place in the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup.

Agbonlahor, who scored Villa's other goal against the Robins, has been impressed with the 21-year-old who has been preferred up front to Darren Bent in recent games.

"Christian gives us a different option and he can hold the ball up similar to when John Carew was here," he said.

"He can also win a lot of aerial balls and he can finish as he showed at Swindon. It was world-class finishing.

"When you've got a striker like Christian who can finish the chances, it is a big boost.

"You know if he gets those sort of opportunities, he will put them away.

"The good thing is he is only 21 and can get better and better."

Agbonlahor added: "People were surprised when Christian first came here that he is 21 given his physical stature.

"He is still learning but game by game he will get better and better.

"He is still learning in training, is working hard and you can tell by his performances how good he is. He can have a big future."

Benteke was another player who, while lacking in Premier League experience was signed for his potential by Lambert, who admits Villa are in a period of transition.

Agbonlahor knows it is the duty of the more experienced players to shoulder their share of responsibility during the inevitable ups and downs.

He said: "I thrive on being an experienced player. When things aren't going well, it is important the experienced lads don't crumble.

"That's what you need in a side to help you through tough times.

"We've got a lot of those (experienced) players and some younger players who have played quite a lot of games in their career despite their age.

"Hopefully we can all stick together and then get the results everyone wants at the club."

Agbonlahor knows Villa have to improve their league form but will head to Sunderland on Saturday with renewed confidence.

He said: "We've got to try and improve on our league form and go and get three points versus Sunderland.

"This win (at Swindon) will give us a lot of confidence for the games coming up.

"People might say we've beaten a League One side but it was a tough place to come and they are a good team.

"The players can be proud of their performance against a side which, after all, had won at Stoke in the competition.

"It was good to get it out of the way because it was potentially a tricky tie."

PA

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