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England replace Berahino with Afobe at U21 EURO

England forward Saido Berahino, the top scorer in qualifying, will miss the U21 EURO because of injury, with Wolverhampton Wanderers' Benik Afobe taking his place.

Benik Afobe (right) played with Harry Kane at the U19 finals in 2012
Benik Afobe (right) played with Harry Kane at the U19 finals in 2012 ©Sportsfile

England have lost the services of injured forward Saido Berahino for the UEFA European Under-21 Championship, with Benik Afobe flying in to replace him.

The loss of Berahino is a significant setback to Gareth Southgate given he was the leading scorer in qualifying with ten goals. "It's a great shame he won't be able to finish the job," said Southgate of the 21-year-old, who scored 14 league goals for West Bromwich Albion FC in 2014/15 and had been expected to start today's Group B fixture against Portugal.

In his place comes Afobe, a 22-year-old from Wolverhampton Wanderers, where he scored 13 goals after signing from Arsenal in January. He has experienced tournament football with England before, winning the U17 European crown in 2010 and scoring two goals in the U19s' run to the semi-finals in 2012.

"I've kept in contact with him in case something like this happened," Southgate said of Afobe. "He's always been super positive about being involved and he's excited by it. He's had an excellent season and he deserves the opportunity. He knows most of the group already from playing in other age groups so we're looking forward to seeing him."

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