Christian Benteke Injury News Limbo
It must have been a weird position to be in for a journalist attending the pre-match press conference for the Fulham game. When the token injuries question came up, Lambert talked about Gabby Agbonlahor’s bug, El Ahmadi’s fitness struggle and also a fresh knock for Gary Gardner. And that was it.
Five minutes later a reputable Belgian journalist Kristof Terreur tweeted Christian Benteke had torn his Achilles tendon and would miss the rest of the season and the forthcoming World Cup. Awkward for any journalist covering Villa, who despite having asked about injuries with the club’s manager and press team in front of them five minutes earlier, had to then rely on twitter and scrambled phone calls to try and get to the truth of the matter.
Villa supporters were also left in limbo. Surely such news was nonsense? After all, wasn’t April Fools a couple of days ago?
If you ask any journalist who deals with Villa, the situation wasn’t exactly surprising behavior, as access to information and to players for interviews at the best of times is hard to come by. Such is the modern game. But, if it was common knowledge in Belgium and would be broken worldwide in a matter of minutes, why the secrecy?
I can understand holding back any announcement until the extent of the injury was known, for example after a scan, but the Belgian’s clearly knew it was an Achilles tendon injury, which normally means a six month-plus lay-off. Was there any harm in telling the assembled press that? Even, if it was off the record, so at least they could prep for it and avoid the forthcoming confusion. After all, any journalist at the presser’s job is to try and communicate the goings on at Villa to the supporters. Needlessly withholding information just leads to a maelstrom of speculation, and we have to deal with enough of that as supporters at the best of times.
As one local journalist put it ‘Shame things have to be so cloak and dagger’.
Still, what is done is done, and our thoughts are with Benteke at this time, with the injury coming at a particularly cruel time for him personally with potentially one of the best World Cups in the last or next decade or so, around the corner. Lets hope he has a speedy recovery and returns asap next season. UTV