Crystal Palace’s Christian Benteke has revealed Roy Hodgson’s assurance convinced him to snub an approach from West Bromwich Albion in the winter market.
The Baggies looked at the Eagles striker before signing Mbaye Diagne on loan from Galatasaray.
Benteke was limited to a substitute role in the first half of the season and this saw rumours of a possible Selhurst Park exit in January.
As the number of reports grew even before the window opened, the 30-year-old decided to hold talks with his manager to get more clarity on his situation at the London club.
“In December I read in the press that I could leave. I immediately went to the coach and asked him: ‘Do I still fit into your plans?’ He replied: ‘Yes, but there will be competition. It will be difficult to guarantee your chances of playing, but you are in my plans’. When he said that, it was clear to me that I wanted to stay,” he told Gazet van Antwerpen.
The newspaper immediately asked if that was the reason why he rejected an approach from West Brom.
Responding to that, Benteke said: “That is why and also because I did not want to leave in January. In the summer you have more time to weigh up the pros and cons and make a well-considered choice. Maybe I want to take on a challenge in another country.”
The former Liverpool man, however, has ruled out the possibility of returning to his home country in the summer.
“I do think that my agent has spoken to people from Club Brugge. I will always respect the Belgian league, but it is not the time to return yet,” the player added.
Benteke has regained his place and has been a regular figure in Palace’s starting lineup in 2021. He has 13 league starts this season, and has five goals and an assist to his name.