Former Aston Villa captain Martin Laursen has heaped praise on the clubs newest star Christian Benteke.

The 22-year old Belgian striker has been impressive for Villa since his summer move from Genk and former Denmark international Laursen is already a big fan of the Villa Park cult hero's work.

"Christian Benteke is already a key player for Villa. If he plays well, Villa play well," he told the club's official website.

"He was brilliant at Anfield (scoring twice in the 3-1 win over Liverpool) and I'm hoping for more of the same from him at Stamford Bridge. I think he's great.

"I have already talked a lot about him whenever I've been asked about Villa in my media work.

"He is so, so strong, he works his socks off, he's a part of everything Villa does.

"He's the focal point of the team. He's involved in throw-ins, corner-kicks, everything really. He is very, very important."

The former fan favourite added: "I know the fans love him. They have really taken to him and he'll love that respect from the crowd. It's an amazing feeling - I know all about it!"

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