Roy Hodgson says continued criticism of Christian Benteke is unjustified and insists he is giving his all to the Crystal Palace cause. The 28-year-old forward has found goals hard to come by for the last two seasons and has carried that poor form into the current campaign.
The club-record signing has failed to find the back of the net this term in all competitions, while he has just four goals to his name in his last 53 Premier League appearances.
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Since netting 17 times in his first season at Selhurst Park, following his big-money move from Liverpool in 2016, Benteke has struggled for consistency and has found himself on the bench for the majority of matches this term.
The former Aston Villa man’s poor form has led to a barrage of criticism with former Palace player John Salako the latest to take aim at the striker, calling on the south London side to give him the boot.
Hodgson was not impressed to see an ex-Palace frontman voice his feelings about Benteke in public and has defended the shot-shy striker. “I think that you do need to be careful in terms of abusing your profession in a way, by criticising other professionals without properly knowing all the details you would need to know,” Hodgson said.
He added: “We here (at the club) see Christian trying his level best every week to get back to goalscoring form. We do our level best to help him, and let’s hope that day will come soon.”
While Hodgson seems keen to persevere with Benteke, he might still have a chance to cut his losses with clubs having shown an interest in him during the summer, Chinese side Shandong Luneng Taishan having reportedly had a £15million bid rejected.
Despite leaping to the defence of Benteke, Hodgson looks unlikely to hand him a recall for this Saturday’s trip to West Ham, the ex-Aston Villa frontman having been an unused substitute in last week’s win over Norwich.
Summer signing Jordan Ayew has been leading the line for the Eagles in recent weeks and could keep his place in the side for the encounter at the London Stadium.