18.06.2015 14:07 h

Goal prince Berahino out of Euro under-21 finals

England's strike threat at the European championships under-21's finals was severely blunted Thursday as Saido Berahino was sidelined with a knee injury.

The livewire 21-year-old West Brom striker hit ten goals in ten qualifying games to get England to the finals, making him Europe's top scorer on the road to the Czech Republic finals that started on Wednesday.

"He's been with us from the very first game, scored our first goal and has been a huge part of the reason why we're here.

"It's a great shame he won't be able to finish the job," said England coach Gareth Southgate ahead of their Group B opener against Portugal later Thursday.

"It's a great personal disappointment for Saido."

England however can count on the marauding Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur, who scored six times in the qualifiers, and Southgate has now called up Benik Afobe of Wolverhampton Wanderers in Berahino's place.

"It's important we move on and the rest of the group respond," said Southgate.

England's group also contains Italy and Sweden, while hosts Czech Republic, Denmark, Serbia and Germany are in Group A.

The Wolves striker Afobe has played for England at four different age groups and has scored 13 goals in 23 games since joining the championship side in January.

"I've kept in contact with him in case something like this happened," added Southgate.

"He's had an excellent season with MK Dons and Wolves this 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."