BY SAM SMITH
Roy Hodgson feels Christian Benteke’s brace against West Brom has reminded football fans of the striking exploits that made the Belgian one of the most devastating attacking players earlier in his career.
But the Crystal Palace boss has urged for more consistency from his frontman.
Benteke scored his first two goals of the campaign in the 5-1 rout against the Baggies – and his first strikes since July.
The striker – signed from Liverpool in 2016 – has been criticised in recent years for his lack of goals. His second goal at the Hawthorns was just his sixth since the start of the 2017-18 season – a complete contrast from the form that led to his £32million move to the Reds from Aston Villa in 2015.
Hodgson said: “I would like to think it’s very important. I would like to think he’s going to get a lot of plaudits for his performance. It wasn’t just the goals – there were a lot of other aspects to his play which were good.
“He’s waited a long time, if you like, he’s been on the bench for quite a while this season so far, without actually getting in and showing what he can do. That’s even going back into the lockdown period. He’s been patient but he’s never stopped working, to be fair to him.
“Today, he showed the type of player he was when Palace bought him from Liverpool. He showed everyone out there that, ‘I haven’t lost anything, I’m still Christian Benteke. You can still rely upon me’.
“He’s now got to keep that going, because the thing about players’ performances is that they need to be consistent. You can sit here like I am with you all, very happy that the two players who you mention [Benteke and Wilfried Zaha] have had good games, but I need them to have good games in the next three coming up as well. That’s the real test – that consistency and that reliability.”
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