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Friday, November 16, 2012
Lambert dismisses Benteke story

Ian Edwards

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has jumped to the defence of Christian Benteke and assured the club's fans the Belgium international has no desire to leave after he was quoted expressing his desire to join Arsenal.

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Lambert and Benteke have both been angered by what the Villa boss believes to be a bogus story emanating from Belgium.

The Sun had quoted Benteke as saying: "Arsenal are the club I love. I like their philosophy of selecting young players and, besides, they had Thierry Henry. For me he is the best player in the world and was my boyhood idol.

"I'm not afraid of making enemies at Villa by saying I love Arsenal. One can say worse things. I'm a Villa player for now. They're the right club at the right time. When I joined Villa I didn't know where they played. I thought they were a London club!"

Lambert feels his 8 million summer signing has been "stitched up" and misquoted based on comments made to Belgian journalists earlier in the week, with the story having cast a cloud over Villa's preparations for the game against Premier League champions Manchester City.

"It is not something I'm going to lose any sleep over but I'm pretty sure he has been stitched up," he said. "I think it has been a bit naughty and misconstrued of what he said and been reported in Belgium. I know what it is like when someone is trying to get a story, it can be turned around.

"I know what it is like so I'll take it lightly. He is a big guy and doesn't say two words let alone give a full story. I think that's a bit of naughty journalism what they have tried to do.

"If you ask any young footballer they will have a team and players they have followed. Christian has a team and that's no danger to anyone. I think the story where he didn't really care if he upset Aston Villa fans... he didn't say that by any stretch of the imagination. That's a bit of naughty journalism.

"I've been in the game long enough to know it can be naughty at times and Christian, you hardly get two words out of him, let alone a full article. A lot of it has been misconstrued. I think it is naughty what the journalist has done.

"And I am happy to reassure Villa fans that the big guy is more than happy. He is playing really well. If he wasn't happy, he wouldn't be playing the way he is. He's only been in the country a couple of months. He is 21, learning his trade, and whatever happens to him in the future will happen."

Benteke has scored four goals for Villa and moved ahead of 24 million signing Darren Bent in Lambert's first-team plans.

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