Crystal Palace have been handed a huge boost after Roy Hodgson appeared to confirm that Christian Benteke’s injury isn’t too serious, despite the Belgian striker being withdraw at halftime against Sheffield United, where he was replaced by Jordan Ayew.
When asked about Benteke’s fitness at the weekend, Hodgson told reporters, via football.london: “Well, we think Benteke got a kick in the first half, which was obviously concerning him at half-time – a sort of dead leg. Normally those dead legs, if you’re lucky, don’t produce long-term problems.”
Palace snapped Benteke up from Liverpool for £27m in a club record deal on a four-year contract in 2016.
The 30-year-old centre-forward has been in decent form this season, scoring three goals in 12 appearances in the Premier League so far, via Transfermarkt. Given the extent of his injury, it appears he could be back in action in a matter of days.
In fact, we’d even go so far as to say that Benteke has been one of Palace’s best players since the start of the season.
Palace have been in desperate need of some quality upfront for some time now and the Belgian international has delivered with great aplomb, bagging a brace against West Bromwich Albion in his first start of the campaign.
The Eagles boss reserved special praise for Benteke after he scored his first goals of the season, saying: “He has been patient and never stopped working. He showed the type of player he was when Palace bought him from Liverpool and has now got to keep that going.”
Whilst the goals have started to dry up, with just one in his past five games, his influential presence at the top of the pitch cannot be ignored, as he came close to scoring after combining with Ivory Coast forward Wilfried Zaha in the first half before being replaced by Ayew.
It’s worth remembering he has still scored more goals than Ayew, Michy Batshuayi and Connor Wickham have between them, albeit the latter has spent nearly the entirety of the season so far on the sidelines.
With an FA Cup tie with Wolves next on the agenda, Benteke simply must be one of the first names on the team sheet if he is fully fit and firing on all cylinders.