Christian Benteke has gotten off to a solid start to his Liverpool career, but he's still under a lot of pressure to live up to the £32 million transfer fee that Liverpool paid to sign him from Aston Villa over the summer. To help cope with the weight of the expectations, he's enlisted the help of mental coach Michel Bruyninckx.
Bruyninckx discussed his work with Benteke in an interview with the Mirror.
"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 said. "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."
Bruyninckx emphasized the connection between a strengthened mind and improved on-field performance. "Step by step, he has understood that the modern game requires other things and his mental endurance and mental power has changed a lot," he said. "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."
Having someone like Bruyninckx around can only be a good thing for Benteke, and it's surprising that more players haven't turned to similar coaches to help their careers.
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