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Southgate praise for Berahino

15 Nov 2013 07:46:54

Southgate praise for Berahino

Gareth Southgate heaped praise on Saido Berahino after the West Brom striker inspired England Under-21s to victory against Finland.

The in-form 20-year-old made it six goals in four appearances for the Young Lions in Milton Keynes, hitting a brace that complemented Michael Keane's early header in a 3-0 win.

Berahino celebrated his first goal in the Euro 2015 qualifier by paying tribute to his father, who was one of the estimated 300,000 killed in the civil war that plagued Burundi.

The striker was booked for showing a shirt with 'RIP Love U Dad' scrawled on it - something he apologised to Southgate for at half-time.

"He is a good player, a good finisher and a pleasure to work with," the Under-21s boss said.

"He has got a desire to improve all the time and he is a terrific goal threat for us.

"That said, looking at our bench we have some super players I didn't put in the starting line-up that I think can cause a lot of problems.

"I hadn't realised he had been booked until he came and apologised at half-time. I couldn't quite work out what he was apologising for.

"The rules are what they are and again that is something we've got to learn. Hopefully it won't be too costly for us.

"I think it was a personal thing that he had done it for, but had I have known I would not have let him go out there with that on his shirt."

As well as praising Berahino, Southgate hailed his defence for their performance on a night in which England failed to reach the heights scaled in previous matches.

"I am pleased with the result," he said. "I think we have got to be careful because they are young players and have done really, really well in the period of time we have been working together.

"But we have set ourselves a standard and I didn't think we quite achieved that.

"We won't always hit the heights we did in the last couple of games and I think we played an opponent intent on frustrating.

"When we got clear, several times they made fouls which broke things up, so it is probably not a bad thing that we have had a performance where we can improve a lot on it, despite winning and sitting top of the group."

England are way ahead in Group 1 and are likely to pick up another three points on Tuesday when they take on San Marino - matches that proved the catalyst in the decision to take part in next summer's Toulon tournament.

Southgate added: "I think that we are in a group where teams are understandably fearful of our attacking players.

"Nobody is going to come and be too open against us.

"That is why the experience of going to Toulon in the summer is a challenge I really want to take on.

"It will give us a better guide of where we are as a team against teams that will press us higher up the pitch and cause us more of an attacking threat.

"The group is what it is, we are progressing well through it. We've got to keep our standards high because there are tougher tests ahead."


PA

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