Benteke employs mental coach to help him settle

Date published: Sunday 6th September 2015 1:09

Christian Benteke has sought help from a coach as he continues to get to grips with dealing with the pressure of playing for Liverpool.

The Belgian forward is under the spotlight after he made his £32.5million switch from Aston Villa in the summer and has turned to a former Standard Liege colleague in Michel Bruyninckx, who currently spends most of his time developing youngsters at Real Madrid and Inter Milan.

“When he was a boy in Belgium, he changed regularly from one club to another, because he only had one profile — as a physically strong player,” Bruyninckx told the Mirror.

“I tried to encourage him then to expand his mind to see that he must not accept those labels and that he could continuously change his skills, and the way he learned to think has been enormously important to his career.

“I hear people say he is not a Liverpool type of player, but I tell you that he can adapt to any club.

“This challenge is not new for him. For many years, people tried to convince Christian he was only a physical player but, through his mental power, he has changed all that.

Bruyninckx is also confident that Benteke will prove to be a success at Anfield, despite finding the net only once in a Liverpool shirt so far.

“When you watch him in the national team, you can see that, technically, he is skilled, he is creative, he is intelligent. I fully believe that, through Liverpool, he will go to a higher level again.”

“Step by step, he has ­understood that the modern game requires other things and his mental endurance and mental power has changed a lot,” Bruyninckx added.

“When I spoke with him, when he gave me the call, I said, ‘Listen, Christian, you have to work on it, and that will open your world. If you decide yourself, then you can go to anything.’

“One of his major points is that he has a broad mindset. He is open to learn every day of his life.

“We understand, more and more, that the capacity of the brain is remarkable and, once a player is aware how the game is played in the head, he can evolve continuously.”

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