Sherwood urges Benteke to stay

The manager thinks that the Belgian could harm his own Euro 2016 ambitions if he quits the Midlands club.

Benteke has scored 11 goals in his last 10 games ahead of Saturday’s trip to Southampton, with Villa moving ever closer to their Premier League survival.

Belgium, meanwhile, are joint top of Group B and look on course to qualify for next summer’s finals in France.

“It would be crucial for us for him to stay next season and beyond that,” Sherwood said.

“I believe it is a very poor time to leave, just before a European Championship or World Cup.

“He could go to another club, be a bit part player and then fall out of the squad for Belgium ??? who may be favourites to win it.

“Marc Wilmots [Belgium boss] is pleased he has got back in the team recently and is firing on all cylinders. They can only benefit from that.

“I think it is a gamble for anyone to leave before a Championships ??? I honestly believe that.

“If you are settled somewhere and scoring goals and the idea is to stay in the international squad and go there on form, then better the devil you know than you don’t.

“Is he guaranteed to play anywhere he goes? Look at strikers at some clubs? (Radamel) Falcao, (Mario) Balotelli, all big money strikers, new environment, it is hard, it takes time to settle.”