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Premier League

Christian Benteke needs a 'reality check' warns Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert

Striker says he does not want Villa to stand in his way is a 'club like Arsenal' covet his services

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has warned Christian Benteke he faces a “reality check” after reports suggesting the striker could be keen to leave the club.

The 22-year-old old Belgian scored 19 goals in his first season in the Barclays Premier League and has been linked with a move away from Villa Park.

But Lambert, who said talks had already begun over improving Benteke's existing contract which has three years left to run, insisted the player still has plenty more to prove.

Lambert told talkSPORT: "I don't really 100 per cent know what's happened but he's got three years here at Aston Villa and the club have always come first.

"He's had one of those seasons where he's never really been injured and he's never been suspended except the last day.

"It's a unique thing, and he's got to remember that he's only 22 years of age - he's got so much to learn.

"He's only a kid starting out and he's going to have ups and downs like everybody else. Once he starts to play 400 or 500 games you might think, 'yeah, he's right good player'.

"I think sometimes we've got to have a reality check here. This lad's only been in Britain for 10 months. He's got the status at Aston Villa and everybody loves him."

Benteke was quoted in the Sun saying he would jump at the chance to join a bigger club to help his ambitions of reaching the 2016 World Cup.

Quoted in the newspaper, Benteke said: "If Aston Villa say I must stay, I won't necessarily accept that.

"I do not in any way want to feel I didn't get the most out of my career. I try to get everything.

"Of course playing the World Cup in Rio is in my head. But I have no fear of falling out of the team. There is no point in me getting into a tug-of-war with Villa.

"If the chance comes up for me to join a club like Arsenal, I'm convinced we can reach a compromise where everyone comes out a winner."