Stoke City flop Saido Berahino know he has a lot to prove, and to himself more than anyone, after comments made by Glen Johnson attacking the character of the striker.
His move to Stoke City cost him, and the club – and didn’t work out for any party involved bar West Bromwich Albion who picked up a fee for the player.
Berahino – now in Belgium – believes that the speed of the move, his vocal mistakes and his isolation helped set up a poor start to his Stoke move, which ended after a drink-driving charge led to his contract being terminated by the club.
That path started from the get-go, though, and Berahino blames a lack of mentorship for that.
“At Stoke when I got there it was like being back alone and not knowing who to speak to,” Berahino said to Talksport.
Obviously, at that age people expected me to be professional enough to handle certain situations but I don’t think I’ve spoken to a player who has been in my situation before where everything changes in a blink of an eye.
“I made one mistake that cost me by tweeting about Jeremy Peace (West Brom’s chairman) which I obviously regret and won’t go into. It’s stuff like that where I never really had somebody to guide me as much as I would have loved to.
“Looking back now I don’t regret it as it’s made me the man I am now and I’ve come out the other side and it’s made me very strong.
“Making that jump to a new league, not knowing what the league is about, what the country is about, constantly speaking to you and telling you ‘look we can improve here, you are still young’. Giving you that hunger again it just reminded me of my time at West Brom. I always thank him for what he’s done for me as he gave me a platform to enjoy myself and not worry about anything.”
“I missed a lot of football. Not being able to enjoy myself at Stoke was my self harm. I wanted to be able to prove to myself I can get back to the level I was at before and just try and enjoy my football again.
“It took the leap from moving from home and isolating myself in a new country away from everyone to be able to do that. I’ve enjoyed every moment of it this season. I don’t blame anyone. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.”
Former Stoke defend Johnson certainly had one of those.
“No, if I’m being brutally honest. I’ve worked with loads of players who may not have been up to the level, but they’re nice people and they work hard and try. He wasn’t at the level and he didn’t try, so it’s hard to accept,” said Johnson speaking to Talksport.
“[Did Beharino have an attitude problem?]. Totally. Big time.”
As for the once highly-rated ex-Stoke striker, there’s only one path. Forwards.
“Whatever Glenn Johnson had to say I’m pretty sure more people that were agreeing with him. For me it was about proving to my family that I can still get back to the level I was at before.”