Southgate: Berahino deserves chance

03 September 2014 09:46

Gareth Southgate believes Saido Berahino deserves his second chance after his high profile scrapes.

The England Ender-21 boss insisted the West Brom striker has also handled the growing spotlight with impressive maturity.

Berahino scored twice in the Baggies' opening day 2-2 draw with Sunderland after forgetting last season's troubles.

He had a major dressing room bust-up with James Morrison during Albion's relegation fight after they drew 3-3 with Cardiff in March and was then reprimanded after a video of him inhaling nitrous oxide - a drug that is not illegal but has potential health risks - was leaked in April.

But Berahino has started the season in good form and is expected to lead the line when England's youngsters face Lithuania in their Euro 2015 qualifier on Friday.

Southgate said: "The great thing with Saido is if he has had a little dip he is someone that recognises and acknowledges it and then does something about it.

"They are young kids. If everything we did as 18, 19-year-olds was as exposed as these lads are then I'm not sure I'd be sitting here today.

"But the spotlight is different, no-one was really bothered what we did.

"There's an element of 'they are going to make mistakes'.

"We don't batter them for making mistakes. If there is not an acceptance that they have done something wrong then it maybe slightly different.

"Saido is one who works really hard, he wants to stay out and do extra finishing and he is not alone in that."

Berahino burst onto the scene last season when he scored against Arsenal and bagged the winner at Old Trafford in Albion's 2-1 win in September.

He also scored seven goals in his first eight Under-21 games but only netted twice after January as Albion just escaped the drop.

Southgate spoke to Berahino during his problems last season and believes the Burundi-born forward, who left his home country when he was just 10, is in good hands.

He said: "I'm pretty sure he took his mum and sister away in the summer. I know his upbringing and what's happened has had a big impact on his life. He is very close to his mum especially.

"You talk about maturing - he's come here not speaking the language, the groups you are then put in at school are different - all these things have an impact.

"He's progressing well and I'm sure with Alan (Irvine, Albion head coach) he has someone he will really relate to and work well with.

"Alan has a great manner and I think it will be good for Saido. All the reports on him coming back into pre-season - he came back early and in really good shape - have been good and he's started the season really well."

Source: PA