Benteke ignoring speculation

Christian Benteke is ignoring speculation regarding his Aston Villa future as he focuses on his return to full fitness.

The Belgium international striker saw an Achilles injury cut short his 2013/14 campaign and wreck his World Cup dream.

The 23-year-old is not expected to be back in action until October at the earliest, having been told that he would be sidelined for around six months.

A lengthy spell on the treatment table has done little to curb the rumours surrounding a possible summer switch, though, with clubs across Europe still closely monitoring the powerful frontman.

Benteke is aware of the ongoing transfer gossip, but he has sought to assure Villa supporters that he remains committed to a long-term contract in the Midlands and has expressed no desire to move on.

He told The Sun: \"I intend to come back bigger, better and stronger than last season.

\"Speculation is speculation. It doesn't mean it's the truth. What I need to do is get back to playing well for Aston Villa.

\"And if some other club is interested in me they have to speak to the club, not just speak about me.

\"Of course it's nice to hear this club or that club wants you, but it means nothing.

\"My first ambition is to focus on my rehabilitation.

\"It was nice to be in the USA with the rest of the boys on the club's tour - even though I was training on my own.

\"I knew the manager would take me to Texas. He gave me all those months off to recover in Belgium but now I need to be close to the squad again.\"

Benteke may still be some way off a return to competitive action, but a man who has plundered 34 goals during his two seasons in English football is itching to get going again.

He added: \"It's going to be some feeling when I can finally kick a ball with the lads again.

\"You know that look on a kid's face when you give them a ball to play with for the first time and they're really happy?

\"I'm a grown man but I'll be as happy as a child kicking his first ball when I return.

\"I can't wait to get back. I want to play football again. I've really missed it.

\"That's the hardest thing about being injured, not being able to go what I really love - playing football.\"