Villa boss leaves striker’s fitness in his own hands.
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has admitted that he will allow striker Christian Benteke to decide whether he is fit enough to feature in Belgium’s World Cup qualifiers after missing out on the past three weeks through injury, the Metro reports.
The 22-year-old striker has been called up by his country and is in the squad to face Croatia and Wales.
Belgium need just a single point from their remaining two games to qualify for their first World Cup since 2002 and Benteke has been a key figure in their plans to make it to Brazil next year, but he has been out of action since Villa’s 1-0 victory over Norwich City last month with a hip injury.
Lambert wants his star player to be fit enough to face Tottenham when the international break is over but said: “I trust Christian to do the right thing. He is probably stuck in the middle right now.
“I’ve had a good chat with him and he will know himself what is the right thing for him to do. I trust him. But I won’t be happy if he plays for Belgium and comes back to me injured.
“I know he wants to play and get back into it as quickly as possible but he hasn’t been back on the training ground yet since picking up the injury.
“It’s only when he starts to kick a ball again that the test will come and he will know himself if it feels okay and whether he is ready to play.
“Christian had to go and join the Belgium squad, I understand that. He was obligated to go because of the five-day rule where countries can prevent players from playing for their clubs if they don’t report for international duty.
“If we hadn’t let him go, they could have prevented Christian from turning out for us against Spurs.
“I think the rule is a mockery but I totally understand where Belgium are coming from. They are a point away from playing in the World Cup finals.”