Berahino out of Euros

Published: Thursday 18th June 2015 by The News Editor

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England Under-21s have been rocked just hours before their European Championship opener by Saido Berahino’s withdrawal due to a knee injury.

The West Brom striker played an integral role in getting Gareth Southgate’s side to the Czech Republic, but will play no part in the finals after the complaint picked up in training on the eve of the Group B encounter with Portugal.

Berahino had the injury scanned on Wednesday evening and the severity has forced him to return home, with Wolves’ Benik Afobe brought in as his replacement.

The former Arsenal striker will be not be available until England’s final group games against Sweden and Italy, meaning Southgate’s attacking options will be limited against Portugal on Thursday evening.

“It’s a great personal disappointment for Saido,” the Under-21s head coach said.

“He’s very conscious of it not affecting the team and we’re personally disappointed for him because he’s been with us from the very first game, scored our first goal and has been a huge part of the reason why we’re here.

“It’s a great shame he won’t be able to finish the job.

“For us, it’s important that we move on and the rest of the group respond and react in the right way as they have done throughout the competition.”

West Brom’s performance director Dr Mark Gillett is hopeful that Berahino’s injury is “not too serious”, but will know more when further assessed on his return to the club.

“We are grateful to the FA for putting the player’s welfare first even though it will obviously be disappointing for Saido to miss out on the tournament,” he told the club’s official website,

“But now the first phase is to assess fully what the problem is and then we can sort out a programme for his recovery and rehabilitation.”

While the Young Lions can still call upon the likes of Harry Kane and Danny Ings, the absence of Berahino is a huge blow – highlighted by his Under-21s record of 10 goals in as many games.

It is England’s second injury setback in the build-up to the opening game against Portugal, with John Stones ruled out with suspected concussion.

As per Football Association guidelines, the training injury means Everton defender is unable to feature in Uherske Hradiste on Thursday evening or against Sweden on Sunday.

Stones will, though, be staying with the England camp unlike Berahino, whose replacement Afobe will arrive in the Czech Republic on the back of a successful season at Molineux.

“I’ve kept in contact with him in case something like this happened,” Southgate said of the Wolves striker, who has played for his county at Under-16s, 17s, 19s and U21s levels.

“He’s always been super positive about being involved and he’s excited by it.

“He’s had an excellent season with MK Dons and Wolves this season and he deserves the opportunity.

“He knows most of the group already from playing in other age groups so we’re looking forward to seeing him.”

Published: Thursday 18th June 2015 by The News Editor

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