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First Team

Benteke Nearing First-Team Return

17 October 2017

Christian Benteke has revealed that he is aiming to be back in action for the Eagles in the next few weeks as he edges closer to a first-team return.

The Belgian hitman has been out for the past three weeks after picking up a knee injury in the defeat to Manchester City last month, further depleting Palace’s attacking options with Wilfried Zaha and Connor Wickham also sidelined.

However, Benteke has suggested that upon his return next month, he hopes to make a similar impact to Zaha, who was instrumental in his side’s 2-1 win against Chelsea on Saturday.

Speaking to Palace TV, he said: “The rehab is going really well and I’m feeling really happy with the way that my ligament is healing, so hopefully I can be back in a few weeks. Wilf had the same injury at a bad time for us, but the good thing is that he is back and hopefully he’ll help the team.”

While the blow of losing Benteke has been cushioned by the fact that his absence spans two international breaks, allowing him to miss fewer club matches, the 32-time capped attacker was forced to watch from afar as his country romped into the 2018 World Cup finals by remaining unbeaten during qualifying.

That means that Benteke can look forward to hopefully being involved in the world game’s premier competition, having missed the 2014 edition through injury, and he is hoping that getting back on the goal trail for Palace following his return will ensure his spot in Roberto Martinez’s 23-man squad in Russia next summer.

“We were already qualified so the most important thing was to finish first in the group and that’s what we did,” he added. “Now we have to wait and see what the draw is going to look like. Our generation has more than 11 players who play in England and the quality and the level of them is really high, so we have to keep it up and be proud of our country.

“Playing in the World Cup is a big motivation but it’s only going to improve my performances at the club. I really want to help the team and do well this year to make sure I’m in the squad.”

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