If there’s one thing all Crystal Palace fans can agree on this season, it’s that Christian Benteke isn’t having the best campaign.
The normally prolific striker has put the ball into the back of the net just twice in the Premier League so far, and with a World Cup just around the corner, that’s not the best stat to have.
He knows that, and made that very clear in an interview with Sport/Foot this week, where the Eagles’ forward discussed everything from his form to his chances of making Roberto Martinez’s squad for Russia in the coming months.
‘Frustrated’ by his situation because he’s working so hard to get out of it and nothing is going his way, Benteke knows a lot of it is in his head, ‘trying too hard’ this season when he gets a chance in front of goal when last year everything came ‘naturally’ to him.
Making it clear he has never thought he made the wrong choice in joining Crystal Palace, the Belgium international does sometimes feel he isn’t getting the service he needs to get out of this bad patch.
Missing out on the last Belgium game with Roberto Martinez choosing to try out different players, Benteke revealed he got a phone call from his manager on the day to explain his decision, which he thoroughly appreciated.
However, don’t take all this self-pitying as a sign he’s completely given up. Far from it.
He said: “If I were to miss the World Cup, it would hurt, but I’d get over it. For those close to me, it would be different. It’s their dream too. It’s not an individual sport where I’m by myself, and the more time passes, the more pressure I’ll feel because they want things to go well for me.
“They want to see me on TV, with the others, with the group, but I’m more motivated than ever. Now, I want to finish the league strongly and join my national team. I’m not ready to give up on my dream.”
Still a regular under Roy Hodgson, the forward has three games left to prove to Roberto Martinez that he deserves to be on that plane, and he knows ‘everything can change in an instant in football’.
Either way, he’s proud of what he’s accomplished so far in his career.
He said: “Everything that’s happening, it’s just a bonus. I’ll never spit in the soup. From where I came from, what I’ve done is already very good. I know I’ll never have Cristiano’s career, I’m not asking for it, but all I want is recognition.”
Put the ball into the back of the net a couple of times in the next few games, and with Michy Batshuayi’s injury and Divock Origi’s struggles at Wolfsburg, there’s a very good chance he’ll be in Russia come June.