Lambert calm over Benteke call-up

first_img “But to cause them the problems we did was really pleasing.” Benteke was actually one of four first-team staples missing against the Blues last weekend. “It wasn’t just Christian we lost for last week,” Lambert said. “There was Gabby Agbonlahor, Ashley Westwood and Jores Okore too. “The four of them are doing well, even though Jores’ cruciate injury will keep him out for a while. “So it wasn’t just Christian we missed, but the lads who came in were excellent for us.” Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert will not become embroiled in a club-versus-country spat with Belgium despite national team coach Marc Wilmots controversially calling up injured striker Christian Benteke for their upcoming matches. Wilmots has reportedly stated Benteke will not be risked for the Croatia match but, should they lose that and need a result against the Welsh, the striker is likely to be called upon. When it was put to Lambert that he may be heading for a clash with his international counterpart, the Scot said: “No, I’ve spoken to Marc anyway and the medical people are engaged in good dialogue so there’s no problems at all. “But he’s not fit for us this weekend. “Christian is doing really well with his rehabilitation and we just have to wait and see how he’s feeling. I’ve spoken to him every day, as I do with everybody else, and he’s doing okay.” Villa beat Manchester City 3-2 at home without Benteke last Saturday to go some way to dispelling the myth that they are anything like a one-man team, but Lambert insists they never needed to make any sort of statement. “The lads had nothing to prove to me,” he said. “I knew we were up against one of the best teams in the country and that we had to play ever so well to try to get something from the game. “Against City they had everything that you want from a footballer: The fight, hunger, desire, togetherness. Everything that makes a strong team, we had in abundance. “It wasn’t a statement as such, it was just a group of lads who came together in that game. Yes, we had to run a lot without the ball at certain times but there aren’t many teams who are going to have much of the ball against Manchester City. Benteke is still thought to be weeks away from fitness following a recent hip injury suffered against Norwich. However, Belgium boss Wilmots has selected the big striker for his side’s World Cup qualifiers against Croatia on October 11 and Wales on October 15 as his side seek the point they need to secure their spot next summer. Press Associationlast_img read more

Boateng: From travel to tactics, Ghana’s World Cup was a catastrophe

first_imgThe Schalke midfielder has slammed the country’s FA for the chaotic organisation of their campaign in Brazil and admits he will find it hard to return to international duty againGhana midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng has hit out at the organiation of the Black Stars’ World Cup campaign, claiming the entire process was “a catastrophe”.While Ghana enjoyed some memorable moments during the competition, including a 2-2 draw against Germany and a record-breaking goal from Asamoah Gyan, the Black Stars’ time in Brazil was shrouded in controversy.Players threatened to boycott the remainder of the competition over a dispute concerning bonus payments, while Boateng and Sulley Munari were both sent home over a breach of discipline.The former AC Milan man has now spoken frankly of his experience throughout the World Cup process and claims the level of treatment the squad received from the Ghanaian footballing officials was ‘insulting’ at times.”I am very, very disappointed,” said Boateng, speaking to SportBild. “It simply was no good time. It was a nightmare from the first day of preparation until the end. “I never thought that you could organise a World Cup preparation and a World Cup that badly: hotels, flights – everything in an amateurish way.”Our flight from Miami to Brazil took 12 hours. We were in Economy Class, packed. The legs hurt. For a pro, that’s an insult. Meanwhile, our president sat in Business Class with his wife and his two kids. In Brazil the people responsible managed to lose my luggage. I did not have my football boots for days, no tapes, nothing. It was a disaster.”Prior to the match against the US we slept in a sleazy hotel. This one can never have been recommended by Fifa. The rooms were wet. I had to change my room because it was like a swimming pool. There was water dripping from the ceiling.”Ahead of the Black Stars’ final group game against Portugal, the squad threatened to boycott the match in protest at unpaid bonuses before Boateng was later sent home, and the Schalke man believes he was made a scapegoat for his honesty with Ghana’s footballing officials.”There were two or three players who were happy that me and Sulley Muntari were suspended,” said Boateng. “I made my point. There wasn’t a single player who was happy. I have the feeling that we met a hundred times with our whole delegation. We told them that there are many things that have to change. “I am an easy victim for them because I told them face-to-face that they are liars who do not keep their promises.”The president promised that we would travel better, get better accommodation in the future. A better organisation and preparation. He didn’t keep his promise. At the end, I was simply dissatisfied.”[The bonuses were] part of it, pretty normal. That was one of the smallest problems. It all just came together during one month. It was a catastrophe.”I just ask myself where all the money is going. The FA gets lots of money from sponsors, from Fifa. They certainly do not spend it for hotels, flights, the team and its preparation.”Boateng did not close the door on a future international career with the Black Stars, but did acknowledge that it would be difficult to return to the fold. “They kicked me out. I love the country and the people but it is hard for any sportsman to continue under these circumstances.”last_img read more