Benteke close to Palace return

Christian Benteke could return to competitive action "in a few weeks" after stepping up his rehabilitation from a knee ligament injury.

The Belgian international striker was injured during Palace's 5-0 loss to Manchester City in September.

With the World Cup just around the corner, Benteke has set his sights on being part of Roberto Martinez squad and knows he needs to be fit and in form to make the cut.

Having missed the 2014 World Cup in Brazil through injury, he is determined not to miss out this time.

Speaking ahead of the club's Premier League clash with Newcastle United on Saturday, the former Genk, Aston Villa and Liverpool striker said: "The rehab is going really well and I'm feeling really happy with the way that my ligament is healing, so hopefully I can be back in a few weeks.

"Playing in the World Cup is a big motivation but it's only going to improve my performances at the club.

"I really want to help the team and do well this year to make sure I'm in the squad."

He added: "We were already qualified so the most important thing was to finish first in the group and that's what we did.

"Now we have to wait and see what the draw is going to look like. Our generation has more than 11 players who play in England and the quality and the level of them is really high, so we have to keep it up and be proud of our country."

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