Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke fails to feature during international break

Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke fails to feature during international break

The Belgium striker stayed on the bench during a draw with Netherlands and a romping victory over Estonia

Sam Smith

Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke failed to feature for Belgium during the recent international break.

Benteke was an unused substitute as Roberto Martinez’s side drew with Netherlands before defeating Estonia 8-1.

The Red Devils needed an 82nd minute strike from Yannick Carrasco to earn a draw in the friendly against the Dutch. The Atletico Madrid forward’s goal was in response to Davy Klaassen’s first-half penalty.

Belgium improved in their Estonian romp. Dries Mertens and Romelu Lukaku struck a brace each, while Thomas Meunier, Eden Hazard and Carrasco added goals of their own. Liverpool defender Ragnar Klavan put the ball into his own net to worsen Estonia’s misery, who scored through Henri Anier.

The Belgian Red Devils celebrate one of their eight goals against Estonia | Photo: Getty images / Emmanuel Dunand

Benteke faces tough competition

Benteke has struggled for game time for Belgium in the last 18 months, despite scoring a hat-trick against Gibraltar last month.

He faces direct competition from the likes of Lukaku, Divock Origi and Chelsea’s new £30 million signing Michy Batshuayi. Perhaps the battle for places is too much of a step up for the Eagles striker, who was signed by the South Londoners from Liverpool in the summer for a club-record £32 million.

Martinez’s appointment of former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry will only help Benteke, though, and the ex-Aston Villa man should learn a lot from the World Cup winner.

Palace’s star man

Alan Pardew’s side have struggled for form this season but Benteke has been at the centre of everything positive for the Eagles. He has netted four goals, one each against Middlesbrough, Everton, Sunderland and Burnley, but missed a crucial penalty in their 1-0 defeat to West Ham.

Benteke was signed to score more goals for a Palace side that has struggled to regularly find the net since promotion in 2013. The lack of a clinical touch was evident as they scored just 39 times last season.