By Aramide Oladipo
Tim Sherwood believes that losing Christian Benteke was crucial to Aston Villa’s demise from the Premier League two seasons ago.
The 26-year-old had helped Villa avoid relegation since he secured a permanent deal to the club in 2012, scoring a total of 49 goals in all competitions.
The Belgium international played an important role in helping the club reach the FA Cup final for the first time in 15 years but it turned out to be a nightmare for Villa, losing 4-0 to Arsenal in 2015.
Benteke joined fellow Premier League side Liverpool the following season for a reported fee of £32.5million.
Speaking on Soccer AM (Saturday 21 September, 10am), Sherwood is convinced that losing Benteke was the beginning of the end for Villa during the 2015-16 campaign.
“We had a guy called Christian Benteke who was in the mould of Carlton Cole, he loves crosses and was a prolific, Premier League goalscorer,” he said as quoted in the Birmingham Mail.
“We needed to get the ball wide and get crosses into the box, we did that and he scored 13 in 11 games and kept us in the Premier League.
“Unfortunately we lost him the next season and we couldn’t find the goals and it was really hard to put them back in the side.”
Sherwood was unable to regroup his side in Benteke’s absence and he was eventually sacked just a couple of months into the season despite leading the club to their first domestic cup final since 2010 the previous campaign.
Villa were eventually relegated from the English top-flight, finishing bottom of the table and recording a total of three victories throughout the entire campaign.
Benteke failed to make the desired impact under Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and he was sold to Crystal Palace where he also helped them to avoid relegation last season, notching up a total 15 Premier League goals.
In other Aston Villa news, manager Steve Bruce raves about 29-year-old after performance against Fulham.