Hodgson had a case for not selecting Saido Berahino
Roy Hodgson, arguably, was right to leave Saido Berahino on the bench for England’s recent matches against Slovenia and Scotland. Now odds-on with Coral at 1/10 to top Group E, the Three Lions sit top, six points clear, on 12.
The England manager’s preferred method seems to be picking new players in the squad and letting them acclimatise gradually, rather than throwing them in at the deep end. Let them get a feel of what it is like to be around the set-up, and train with the squad, familiarising themselves with the current habits.
As exemplified with Nathaniel Clyne, who was selected in the squad for the previous round of qualifiers, though didn’t feature, he played this time around against Slovenia and Scotland, being identified as a top performer. The same process occurred with and applied to Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge who are all now gradually starting to flourish.
No doubt, Hodgson had words with Berahino in the time that he spent with the striker and was probably impressed with him in training. The experience the 21-year-old will have gained just from the last week will be invaluable as well as words of wisdom he has received from the likes of Wayne Rooney and Rickie Lambert, plus assistant coach Gary Neville.
The player was humble, following his selection, and no doubt Hodgson will be pleased with the player’s attitude, after his early season form and hard work captured the attention of the England boss.
On being included in the squad, Berahino said: “It will be a very emotional experience for me. If selected, I will play with all my heart. This country gave me a second chance in life. I came to this country and it has provided me and my family with a safe place and a better place to live. It’s given me a chance to achieve what I want to achieve in life.
“I am just pleased for him because I know how much football means to him,” said Hodgson. “I was pleased that in an interview the other day, he made it clear how important England and English football has been to him and his family. I think it’s a really nice story and it’s up to him to show he can make this step up from his own level, Under-21, to the senior level. I am happy to give him the chance.”
It looks as though Berahino is here to stay and, if called upon again, he is sure to get his chance.