Saido Berahino will get better, says Gareth Southgate

Thursday 04 Sep 2014
Saido Berahino is preparing for Friday's match against Lithuania

Gareth Southgate has backed Saido Berahino to keep on improving after an impressive start to the new season with West Bromwich Albion.

The 21-year-old striker scored two goals for the Baggies in their Premier League opener against Sunderland last month and is currently with Southgate’s squad preparing for Friday’s Euro qualifier in Lithuania.

Lithuania v England

2015 U21 European Championship
Qualification Group 1
Darius and Girenas Stadium, Kaunas
5pm, Friday 5 September


And the Three Lions boss admits he has been pleased with the way Berahino has handled his growing profile and the pitfalls that come with it after a sudden rise to prominence at the Hawthorns last term.

After scoring a winning goal against Manchester United at Old Trafford earlier in the season, the campaign ended with stories of reported dressing room disagreements and social media outbursts involving Berahino but Southgate has been pleased with the player’s reaction to it all.

"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,” said Southgate, ahead of his squad’s flight to Kaunas.

"They are young kids. If everything we did as 18 or 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 may be slightly different.

Saido Berahino scores from the spot

Saido Berahino scores from the spot against Sunderland


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

Berahino has been England’s top scorer in Euro qualifying so far, with six goals in six appearances to help Southgate’s side top their group table.

That has put them into the play-offs next month, where a victory will be enough to secure qualification for the Euro Finals in Czech Republic next summer.

And Southgate believes Berahino is in good hands at the Hawthorns, with his former Crystal Palace team-mate Alan Irvine now in charge of the Baggies.

"He's progressing well and I'm sure with Alan he has someone he will really relate to and work well with,” added Southgate.

"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."

By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels at St. George's Park