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Villa star hails street football

Christian Benteke Aston VillaAston Villa striker Christian Benteke has lauded the influence street football has had on the current golden generation of Belgian footballers, who now mostly ply their trade in the Premier League.

The Congo born star is aware that learning the game the hard way has given him an extra determination to succeed.

It is clearly paying dividends for the national side with Belgium currently sitting top of Group A in the 2014 World Cup Qualifiers.

Benteke recently signed for Villa this summer in a £7million deal, the most his boss Paul Lambert has ever splashed out on a player.

He has secured 8 international caps and the future looks bright, but the 21-year-old was keen to tell the Telegraph how Belgium has flourished.

When questioned about Belgium’s success, despite not qualifying for the last 5 major tournaments, Benteke said: “I think it is because there are a lot more street footballers coming through with a lot of skill learnt on the street.

“I started in the street, playing with my mates in the evenings. It was more fun that way.”

The Villa ace also explained how playing on the street was a common trend for several of the current Belgian crop.

“I started playing with Axel Witsel, who is also from Liège [now at Zenit St Petersburg]. He played in the street. Kompany, Dembélé, Mirallas all started playing in the streets. In England, there are more ‘English’ English. But Belgium welcomes a lot of foreigners and that is what makes the side so strong,” he added.

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Article title: Villa star hails street football

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