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Jonathan Benteke On Life At Palace

18 October 2016

This interview first appeared in the Crystal Palace v West Ham United matchday programme.

Making your first Premier League appearance is always a special moment, but Jonathan Benteke’s was made all the more incredible when Benteke junior replaced Benteke senior.

Sharing the moment with his older brother Christian capped off an incredible day for the 21-year-old at Middlesbrough last month, who couldn’t have imagined being thrust into the action so soon into his Palace career.

Looking back at his debut, he said: “I was very surprised to be involved so quickly. There were a lot of injured players so I got the chance to play. It was my first game in the Premier League so because of that it was amazing, but subbing for my brother made it even better.

“I thank the coach for my first appearance in the league. He told me to put pressure on the defence and help the midfield when we don't have the ball, and when he came off Christian told me to run everywhere and enjoy the moment.

“After the game all my family were really happy for me, especially my dad who was delighted to see his two sons playing together. Christian told me it was just the beginning and that I had a long road left.”

That road has already seen a rise from the second tier of Belgian football to the Premier League in a little over two years, but the younger of the Benteke boys is fully enjoying following in his illustrious elder’s footsteps.

“When my agent told me there was a possibility to come to Crystal Palace I didn't even hesitate,” he said. “I learned a lot in Belgium but I'm sure that I'll learn even more here. From the first day the lads made me feel at home and I’ve settled in quickly. The fact that Christian is here helps me a lot because he started like me and is always there to give me advice.

“It has always been my dream to play in the Premier League as I've been watching Match of the Day since I was little. The fact that Christian plays here also made me want to play here more because of the great atmosphere, the stadiums and the supporters. England is different from Belgium - it's a real football country and everybody follows it.”

After the highs on Teeside, Jonathan’s progression has been stalled after picking up a knee injury which will see him out until the start of 2017, but his new year’s resolutions already feature two more big milestones in his fledgling Palace career.

On his recent setback, he revealed: “I was really disappointed because I felt like I was cut in my progression, but sadly it's a part of the game and I don't have much choice than to accept it. The doctor told me that I'm going to be out for three months and after that I can start to train again, so I'm going to do everything possible to come back at my best as soon as possible.

“The first time that I came to a game at Selhurst Park I noticed the amazing atmosphere. The supporters are really behind the team and cheer them on, so I'm waiting for the moment where I could play there.

“If I got the chance to play alongside Christian it would mean a lot because playing with him is great. We played together several times in the streets with friends when we were young and we really enjoyed it.”

If you want to read more interviews like this, all 88 pages of the Palace Programme from every home game can be download to your iPad or Android device for just £1.49 per edition.

For iPhone or iPad: CLICK HERE
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