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Soccer-Villa striker Benteke out of Palace clash

Reuters

BRUSSELS, Dec 24 (Reuters) - Injured Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke will miss his team's Premier League clash at home to Crystal Palace on Thursday as he is undergoing physiotherapy in his native Belgium until Friday.

The 23-year-old Belgian international has been struggling with knee and hip injuries since the close season and decided to meet up with physiotherapist Lieven Maesschalck, who also works for the Belgian national soccer team, in Antwerp.

Tottenham Hotspur's Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen also spent some time with Maesschalck recently, recovering from an ankle injury.

"Vertonghen has already left but Christian Benteke will stay until Friday," a spokeswoman for the Move to Cure physiotherapy centre in Antwerp, where Maesschalck works, said.

Benteke, who scored 19 Premier League goals last season, has struggled to make his mark this campaign, failing to find the net in the past 10 matches as Villa have slipped to 13th in the table.

He could be fit for Villa's following home match against Swansea City on Saturday and their away trip to Sunderland on Jan.1. (Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek. Editing by Patrick Johnston)

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