Berahino bagged nine goals in ten U21 qualifying matches
SAIDO Berahino has revealed his excitement at the next challenge in his surging Albion career – this summer’s UEFA European Under-21 Championship.
The 21-year-old, two-goal hero of this week’s 3-0 blitz of Barclays Premier League champions Chelsea, has been named in Gareth Southgate’s 27-man provisional England squad for the tournament being staged in Czech Republic between June 17-30.
Should he make the final squad of 23 it will extend an already lengthy and demanding season for the young striker, but he is not complaining.
“I’m always proud and privileged to play for England and this is extra special,” said Berahino.
“It’s going to be an incredible experience for the squad. I really enjoyed the campaign to qualify and you can see from the names on the list that there is plenty of talent in our ranks.
“It’s going to make it a long season but I hope that I’m still playing at the end of June because that will mean I made the final 23-man squad and we have gone deep into the tournament. I think we’re good enough to do that.”
News of his call-up was hardly a surprise, bearing in mind Berahino was named England Under-21 Player of the Year for 2014 having played a crucial role in firing the Young Lions to this summer’s tournament.
But it adds to the excitement of his and Albion’s flourishing finale, which sees the club bidding to finish 12th as the curtain comes down on their Premier League campaign at Arsenal on Sunday.
He hit the 20-goal mark for the season with that acclaimed brace against Jose Mourinho’s men and has been praised by head coach Tony Pulis for his all-round commitment to Albion’s flight to safety.
“It’s great to be finishing the season on such a high,” he added. “Everyone is still buzzing at Monday night’s result and performance and we will be going all out to land another big scalp on Sunday.
“I can’t praise the gaffer highly enough – he has been great for me and I’m loving my football. To have the England tournament to look forward to after that is great.”