Saido Berahino commits international future to Burundi despite 47 England youth caps

Saido Berahino commits international future to Burundi despite 47 England youth caps

Stoke City forward Saido Berahino has been cleared to play for the Burundi national team despite previously being called up for England.

Berahino was born in Burundi but made the move to England as a child, subsequently playing for the Three Lions’ youth teams.

The 24-year-old was also called up to the England senior squad in 2014 by then-manager Roy Hodgson but did not make an appearance.

And now, Berahino has reportedly been allowed to switch allegiance by Fifa after the Football Federation of Burundi made an application.

“Fifa have authorised the Burundian international playing for Stoke City to wear the jersey of the Burundian national team,” FFB secretary general Jeremie Manirakiza told Burundi publication Iwacu (via Goal).

“Saido Berahino is an experienced player. Burundi will benefit enormously from his experience,” he added.

As a player for England’s Under-17 side, Berahino helped the Young Lions win the 2010 Under-17 European Championship, scoring one goal.

But he could not transfer this promise over to the senior side with the likes of Wayne Rooney, Jermain Defoe, Daniel Sturridge and Harry Kane all ahead of him in the pecking order at some stage.

Should Berahino earn an immediate call-up for Burundi, he will be hoping to boost their chances of qualifying for the 2019 African Cup of Nations, with the nation currently top of their group, which also includes Sudan, Mali and Gabon.

Berahino’s club career to date

The stagnation of Berahino’s England career came as a result of poor spells domestically for West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City.

Berahino came through the ranks at West Brom and broke into the first team at the start of the 2013/14 season when he was entrusted with being the club’s starting striker.

The forward scored 36 goals in total for West Brom which had his name mentioned around the England senior team.

But, after being labelled disruptive at West Brom, and following a move to Stoke City, things went sour for the 24-year-old. First, he failed a drugs test and was given an eight-week suspension and he was later banished to the under-23s team last season due to poor discipline.

Berahino is yet to score a first-team goal for the Potters, last finding the net in a 3-2 win for West Brom over Crystal Palace on February 27, 2016.