Christian Benteke could make a return against Manchester City next week, according to boss Paul Lambert.

The 23-year-old Belgian internatonal has been out since April after rupturing his Achilles and also missed the World Cup in Brazil, but he has now returned to training. Manager Paul Lambert is hoping to have him back in the squad as early as next week against Manchester City at Villa Park.

“We’ll see how he does this week,” Lambert told the club’s official site.

“You’ve got to remember he’s been out for five months and has only been in full training for two weeks. I’ll have that dialogue with him. We’ll see how he feels.

“If we think he’s justified to go in with his fitness levels then that’s something that myself and the staff will decide.

“First and foremost I don’t think there’s any pressure on him. You don’t heap pressure on somebody that’s just coming back from that injury.

“If Christian can do what he did in his first year and up until he got injured last year then that’s great.”

Benteke has made 67 appearances for Villa, scoring 34 goals since his £7m move from Genk in 2012 and Lambert insists he is one of the best No. 9 he has seen.

He said: “Christian is one of the best No.9s that I’ve seen – even as a player – and I played with no slouches, that’s for sure.

“I probably played with three of the greatest strikers in the world at one time and he’s certainly up there.

“If he can have the career those guys had then he’ll be doing well for himself.

“He’s only 23 years of age. He has a long way to go and he’s got a chance if he keeps at it.

“He’s a lot younger than the lads that I played with but when he’s on his game he’s excellent.”

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