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Lambert: Benteke ahead of schedule in injury return

In comments over the weekend, Paul Lambert has given us a hint that we may see Aston Villa's Christian Benteke sooner than we expected.

Tony Marshall

Paul Lambert has given us some hope that we may see Christian Benteke sooner than expected. I may be guilty of reading too much into this, but Lambert took time to mention that Benteke wouldn't be ready for the start of the season, which strikes me as an odd thing to say. Here's the quote:

In terms of injuries, Libor is doing great. He won't be fit for the start of the season. Christian won't be fit either. But they are both ahead of their scheduled time.

I say that it strikes me as odd because no one expected Benteke to be back by the beginning of the season. In fact, most everything I've seen has October as an optimistic return date with sometime around Boxing Day being more likely. If Lambert is addressing questions of Benteke's being ready to begin the season, it suggests to me that the Belgian may be ready to play sooner than we expected.

The final line there, that Benteke and Kozak are ahead of their schedule, both confirms this speculation and adds nothing new. We've heard for a while now that the duo are ahead of schedule, but it's not exactly clear what that has meant in either case.

Again, it may be reading too much into an innocuous statement, but I'm shocked to hear Lambert even entertaining the idea of Benteke being ready to open the season. If nothing else it's a good sign that there haven't been any setbacks in his recovery.