Vertonghen not surprised by Benteke form

26 December 2012 07:17

Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen had no doubt that Christian Benteke would prove his doubters wrong as he prepares to face his international colleague at Villa Park this evening.

Benteke struggled to adapt to life in the Barclays Premier League when he arrived from Genk for £7million this August, but the Belgian has been on a hot streak of form recently to take his season tally to eight goals.

Vertonghen knows Benteke well from their time together with a Belgium side littered with individual brilliance, and he said: "It doesn't surprise me that he has done well. He is very good in the air and he can score. He will be a very tough player to play against."

He added: "He now feels the confidence of the team, the crowd and the manager.

"You could see that in the last two games for the national team (when Benteke scored in wins over Serbia and Scotland). He was very good then and I think that Aston Villa made the right choice to sign him."

Vertonghen may not be pitted in to direct combat against his compatriot, however, as he could once again be deployed at left-back, where he has played since Benoit Assou-Ekotto suffered a knee injury in September.

With Assou-Ekotto nearing full fitness, Vertonghen hopes to move back to his favoured position of centre-half.

When asked whether he found it frustrating playing at full-back, the 25-year-old said: "Yes, and the manager knows. I prefer centre-back but I want to help the team.

"It would be good to have Benoit back but not only for that reason as he is one of the best left-backs in the league."

Villas-Boas, whose team dropped to sixth in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday with a 0-0 draw against Stoke, will also be without Clint Dempsey for this evening's game as he has a groin strain.

Source: PA

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
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