Roy Hodgson says he wants to keep Christian Benteke despite the striker hinting at a Crystal Palace exit in January.
After scoring twice for Belgium against Cyprus in the international break, Benteke admitted he may need to move on to a club where he would get regular game time if he was to secure a place in their final Euro 2020 squad.
Hodgson and Benteke come up against their former club Liverpool on Saturday, and rather than dwell on the speculation, the ex-England manager focused on the positives and insisted that the striker remained part of his plans.
“Very good international break for us this time,” he said at a press conference. “Wayne Hennessey had a major part to play in Wales’ qualification. Christian all the time he has not been in has been very professional and worked very hard so it doesn’t come as a surprise to me that he takes his chance.
“It would be a concern if the club was planning to sell him because the club only have two centre-forwards. As far as I know we have no plans to sell him.
“When you sign a contract with a club you sign up for the good times and the bad times. It would have to be something that both he and we wanted, I have no suggestion that it is something I want.”
As they prepare to face the league leaders, Hodgson is wary of the threat that will be posed by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – a player he gave a senior international debut to towards the start of his reign as England manager.
However, the 72-year-old said he was pleased to see the midfielder overcoming his injury problems.
“We’ve been unlucky with Alex, quite a few players made their debut from that time and on two occasions he got badly injured before the World Cup and Euros. It was very unfortunate because he was a quality player.
“I am very pleased for him that he has overcome this unfortunate period of his life where one injury has been followed by another. I hope he won’t make me eat my words by scoring a hat trick.”