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Belgium striker Christian Benteke could make a surprise return to action in next Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against Wales.
The Aston Villa target man injured his hip during the league encounter with Norwich on September 21 and has missed his side’s last two fixtures.
It was thought initially that he would be sidelined for at least a month, but having travelled to Belgium to link up with the international squad ahead of Friday’s Group A clash with Croatia, an examination by medical staff revealed the injury is not as bad as first feared.
In truth manager Marc Wilmots does not need to unduly risk playing Benteke, as Belgium are top of the table with 13 points, seven ahead of Croatia, and just need a draw on Friday to ensure they book their place in Brazil as winners of the group.
Villa manager Paul Lambert for one will be hoping that Benteke comes back from international duty in good shape for the visit of Tottenham on Sunday, October 20.
He said: “I trust Christian to do the right thing. He is probably stuck in the middle right now.
“But I’ve had a good chat with him and he will know himself what is the right thing for him to do. I trust him. But I won’t be happy if he plays for Belgium and comes back to me injured.”
Wales are bottom of the Group A table and Tuesday’s match is likely to be little more than a run-out for a classy Belgium outfit.