Football

Benteke has struggled for first team football this season.

Christian Benteke could find it 'difficult' to earn 2016 place, says Belgium boss

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With the European Championships in France on the horizon, don’t be surprised to see an increase in performance levels from some players.

The managers of the 24 national teams will be casting their eye over their potential squad members during the final few months of the domestic season.

One man who has a tougher job than most is Belgium boss Marc Wilmots.

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Wilmots has a plethora of attacking talent to choose from ahead of the tournament this summer and will no doubt have no choice but to leave some big names out.

And one player that he’s hinted at overlooking is Liverpool striker Christian Benteke.

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Benteke has had a difficult debut season at Anfield and has managed just eight goals in all competitions since his £32.5 million transfer from Aston Villa last summer.

Since Jurgen Klopp was appointed as manager in October, Benteke has only made a couple of starts and compatriot Divock Origi also appears to be ahead of him in the pecking order.

Liverpool FC v FC Rubin Kazan - UEFA Europa League

And Wilmots has alluded to the fact that the 25-year-old could miss out on a place in his 23-man squad.

“It’s difficult for him,” Wilmots told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, as per The Mirror. “Klopp arrived and visibly made his choice.

“Christian [Benteke] is going to have doubts now. We’ve all gone through that. I understand that and regret it. He missed the World Cup because of an injury, and missing the Euros would hurt.

“Now, he has to work. Christian has the time to prove that he can mean something to Liverpool.”

It’s not just Liverpool teammate Origi that Benteke is competing against for a place in Belgium’s squad.

Another forward on Merseyside, Romelu Lukaku is likely to be Wilmots' number one striker with the 22-year-old bagging 25 goals in 36 appearances in an impressive season.

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Elsewhere, Michy Batshuayi - who has played just twice for Belgium scoring two goals - is having a brilliant campaign for Marseille, scoring 13 league goals.

However, Wilmots believes that his decision will not be swayed by the form of the players for the remainder of the season.

“I will choose depending on what they bring, and not on how well they played in the past few months,” said Wilmots.

FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-MARSEILLE-SAINT-ETIENNE

“Batshuayi is a poacher. Benteke is better with his head and at linking up. Lukaku has pace and power. My choice will also depend on the wingers I take.”

Wilmot’s men will enter Euro 2016 as fifth favourites for glory in France as the so-called ‘golden generation’ seek to win their first ever major international trophy.

Belgium’s best result was runners-up in the 1980 European Championship in Italy and the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Vincent Kompany will hope to propel their national to their first ever triumph.

Can Belgium win the European Championships in the summer? Let us know in the comments box below!

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Topics:
Premier League
Liverpool
Football
Belgium Football
Steven Gerrard
Christian Benteke

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