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TWISTED FATE

Saido Berahino could have been Harry Kane and Harry Kane could have been Saido Berahino

Berahino used to be Gareth Southgate's favourite but these days he could not be further away from Spurs' golden boy

Approximately four years ago, two fresh-faced forwards racked up the goals for Gareth Southgate’s England Under-21s.

Saido Berahino and Harry Kane.

At the time, the former was considered the slightly better prospect.

Berahino even edged out Kane to be named Player of the Year for the Three Lions’ premier youth side in 2014.

The next big things

Getty Images - Getty
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The next big things

This summer just past, Kane reaffirmed his status as one of the world’s most prolific strikers by adding a World Cup Golden Boot to his pair of Premier League equivalents.

As for Berahino, in August he was given permission by FIFA to declare for Burundi after becoming a nationwide laughing stock.

Two players who were once so closely linked, could now hardly be further apart.

It’s been a struggle

Reuters
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It’s been a struggle

Last night, Berahino ended a 913-day drought with a close-range header for Stoke against Huddersfield in the Carabao Cup.

Before last night, his most recent goal came before Donald Trump went from detestable reality TV star to detestable President.

In the same time period, Sam Allardyce replaced Roy Hodgson as England manager, and then got the sack.

While Harry Kane scored over 100 senior goals for club and country.

Spurs’ golden boy also captained his country at a World Cup, firmly establishing himself as Southgate’s favourite, a role Berahino formerly occupied.

Midas touch

Getty - Contributor
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Midas touch

In another life, not too dissimilar to this one, the Burundi-born forward would be the toast of English football.

Kane is living out the dream meant for Berahino.

The former Baggies man was linked with a move to Spurs for three consecutive transfer windows.

Daniel Levy had a bid rejected as recently as August 2015, the summer after Kane’s 31-goal breakout season.

For so long it looked as if Berahino would become Spurs and England’s No9.

Did Berahino peak at 21-years-old?

PA:Empics Sport
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Did Berahino peak at 21-years-old?

His drop-off was gradual at first, and then suddenly dramatic.

A dip in form became a canyon, exaggerated by his off-field behaviour.

After being denied a transfer to White Hart Lane, he declared he would never play for West Brom as long as Jeremy Peace was chairman.

Tensions were eased as Tony Pulis worked hard to reintegrate Berahino into the squad in a harmonious fashion.

The following season he was sent to a special training camp in France after West Brom judged him to be overweight.

After a move to Stoke, it emerged that Berahino had served an eight-week suspension for failing a drugs test after testing positive for MDMA.

Pastures new

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Pastures new

With every game that passed, more and more attention was drawn to his drought, to the point where it was mentioned every time he was on the pitch.

All the while Kane continued his relentless pursuit of goals.

It’s certainly not too late for Berahino to salvage his career.

He faced huge adversity as a child and has overcome the odds to even make it as a professional footballer, something for which he deserves tremendous admiration.

However, the Kane-esque rise to stardom that once beckoned for him seems to have slipped out of his grasp for good.

Two golden boys; one polished to perfection, one dulled beyond recognition.


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