Berahino in optimistic mood

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Published: Monday 13th October 2014 by The News Editor

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In-form striker Saido Berahino is confident he and his England Under-21 team-mates can complete their European Championship qualification mission in Croatia.

England are on course for a place at the Euro 2015 finals in the Czech Republic after taking a 2-1 lead in their play-off against Croatia with victory at Molineux last Friday.

A tricky second leg in Vinkovci still lies ahead on Tuesday but West Brom forward Berahino, who scored the late penalty winner at the home of his club’s arch-rivals Wolves, has firm belief they will advance.

Berahino told the TheFA.com: “It is going to be different out there, a different type of environment for all of us.

“But we’re professional enough and have been in those situations before, so we’re just going to go out there and look to do a professional job and make sure we qualify.

“The whole 18 have been training well and we’ve put in a good shift so we can be really confident and try to give them a good game.”

Berahino has been in fine form of late, with five goals in his last three Albion games fuelling calls for full international recognition.

In terms of this European campaign, he has been England’s outstanding forward with eight goals in the regular group stage before last week’s strike.

But Berahino does not want to take all the glory himself, pointing out that he has formed a strong attacking partnership with Tottenham’s Harry Kane – also a goalscorer last week – and Norwich winger Nathan Redmond.

Berahino said: “It worked well (in the) last group game against Moldova and pretty well on Friday. We are growing as a partnership. We tried to cause a lot of problems to the opponents.

“It was good Harry got the goal, I am happy for him, and Nathan got the assist for the penalty. We are just working well together as a three.”

England manager Gareth Southgate could make at least two changes after Burnley defender Michael Keane and Derby midfielder Will Hughes were withdrawn at Molineux with injuries.

Captain and goalkeeper Jack Butland – who last week said missing out on qualification was “not an option” – also hopes England now press home their advantage.

He told stokecityfc.com: “The win has made it a lot harder for them. They’re going to have come and attack us but we have plenty of ability to cope with that and hit them on the break.

“We’ll be full of confidence and our mentality won’t change just because it’s away from home.

“Maybe we attack with a little more caution, but we will approach the game properly. We will be looking to pass the ball round, dictate the game and score goals.

“We’ve put ourselves in a good position. We’re ahead in the tie and we know that a draw or a win will see us through.”

Published: Monday 13th October 2014 by The News Editor

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