Football Expert & Columnist
Aston Villa's Christian Benteke is a better all-round striker than Darren Bent, says Jamie Redknapp.
Last Updated: 27/10/12 4:03pm
Jamie Redknapp told Sky Sports that Christian Benteke fully warrants his place in Aston Villa's starting line-up.
The Belgian was once again preferred to Darren Bent in the Villans' first XI for the Saturday lunchtime clash with Norwich and rewarded manager Paul Lambert's faith by scoring his side's goal in the 1-1 draw.
Redknapp believes the 21-year-old, signed by Villa from Genk during the summer, is a better all-round player than £24million man Bent, but says the striker could be playing in a struggling team for a good while yet.
"Benteke offers more to the team than Bent," said Redknapp. "Bent is an out-and-out goalscorer and plays on the shoulder, but Benteke works harder and is more of a presence.
"He did okay against Norwich and there were glimpses of quality - he is decent in the air - and he was their best performer, although Brett Holman was good at times.
"Ron Vlaar and Brad Guzan were outstanding at the back, though; Guzan, in particular, could see the whites of the Norwich strikers' eyes bearing down on him and he made some really good, brave saves."
Redknapp continued: "I have sympathy for the Villa fans as when I came here as a player and having watched them over the last five or six years, there was a star player who got you off your seat.
"There isn't that player out there now, like Norwich had with Wes Hoolahan. Villa are a young and inexperienced side and are devoid of any real quality. This is a hard job for Paul Lambert."
Lambert took charge of Villa after a glittering spell at Norwich, during which time he guided the Canaries from League One to the Premier League, but Dwight Yorke believes the Scot has to instil more guile into his new charges if they are to climb the table.
However, the former Villa Park favourite was impressed by Norwich's display and, in particular, the performance of tricky midfielder Wes Hoolahan, who supplied the cross from which Michael Turner nodded in the Canaries' equaliser.
"Villa lacked excitement and their play was very pedestrian," said Yorke, about a side sitting just above the drop zone. "They are a big club with big ambition but it's no good having fantastic facilities if the team doesn't fit that bill.
"I really liked Hoolahan's first touch and left foot and he has got a low centre of gravity. He can see a pass, go past people and his decision making was spot on; he made everything he did look easy.
"Norwich are a good outfit; they showed quality and worked extremely hard and turned Villa over. They didn't get off to the best start this season, but you can see the changes that (manager) Chris Hughton is implementing and the players are buying into his ideas."