West Brom youngster Berahino was highly touted to make his first appearance for the senior England squad during the ongoing international break, having made the step up from Under-21 level in the last few weeks.
The third highest scorer at Under-21 level behind Francis Jeffers and Alan Shearer with 10 goals in 13 games, the 21-year-old is currently the leading English goalscorer in the Premier League this season. He has seven goals in 11 games for the Baggies, and his goalscoring exploits have been largely the reason for West Brom’s secure mid-table position. Whilst it was no surprise to see him left out of the starting XI in the Euro 2016 qualifier with Slovenia, it was expected that Hodgson would name Berahino for inclusion in the friendly with Scotland on Tuesday night.
However, the 21-year-old missed out on a starting spot in a strong first XI, and his night was made even worse when he failed to make the field of play at any moment during the 3-1 victory.
With England 2-0 to the good after 80 minutes, Hodgson opted to remove the excellent Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from play, but he chose to replace him with Rickie Lambert - who promptly had little impact.
It was a strange decision for Hodgson to make, having admitted to the press that Lambert’s Liverpool teammate Glen Johnson hadn’t made it into the Three Lions squad due to his lack of competitive action for the Reds. However, Johnson has made four more starts than Lambert this term - five to one - and the ageing forward has done nothing this season to deserve a place in the squad, let alone making the field ahead of the in-form Berahino.
Despite Berahino’s likely annoyance at Lambert’s inclusion ahead of him, the youngster should be looking to the future, with Lambert’s inclusion likely to be the last time he features for the Three Lions. If his season continues as it has been, the 32-year-old is unlikely to make a positive impact upon Liverpool’s campaign, and his lack of playing time for his club will see him out of the international picture of favour of Berahino, and former Under-21 teammate Harry Kane.
The former Southampton and Bristol Rovers man will be 34-years-old by the time of the next European Championships, and, with Hodgson vowing to build for the future of England, he will surely be overlooked for inclusion if he is not a regular starter for Liverpool. In preparation for his eventual retirement from international duty, Hodgson will be looking for his youngsters to get competitive action under their belts, and the qualifiers for the European Championships will be the ideal scenario for that.
It is a sad situation for Lambert, who, at the age of 32, was rewarded with his dream move to Liverpool, and would be keen on securing his international future for the next two years. However, mismanagement at Anfield has cost him a starting role guaranteed at Southampton, and it looks likely to have cost him an inspirational international career.