Saido Berahino’s inclusion in the England squad was an “obvious” call, according to Roy Hodgson.
The Three Lions boss named his 26 men earlier today for the upcoming EURO 2016 qualifier against Slovenia and the following friendly with Scotland, with the West Brom ace’s inclusion one of the major talking points.
Berahino is currently the Premier League’s top scoring Englishman with seven goals in 10 games, and was thought of, by many, as unlucky to have missed out on a spot in the senior side during the last international window – during which he instead represented the U-21s.
With qualification for the tournament in France in just over a year and a half looking likely with three wins from three qualification games so far, Hodgson is keen to test young players and revealed that the decision to give the 21-year-old striker a chance was an easy one for him:
“The reasons are quite obvious – he’s done so well, not only for West Bromwich Albion but also for the Under-21 team,” he is quoted by the FA’s official website. “He’s really been in good form.
“The last get-together he was obviously in our minds but we didn’t choose him because of the importance of the two U-21 qualifiers against Croatia.
“But this time they have a friendly match, so there’s no reason to pass over his credentials yet again.”
Hodgson went on to say that the Baggies hot-shot WILL get a chance in the coming two games:
“When you call players up, you call them up to play and they must come into the group believing they have a good chance of playing,” he added.
“I’m sure Saido will come wanting to play and hoping to play. He faces stiff opposition. He’s a bright boy and understands that.
“He’s not there for the learning process. But at the age of 21 and getting his first call-up I’m sure he’ll understand like we all do that he hasn’t made it to Wayne Rooney status yet.
“But his journey starts here and we wish him well on the journey.”