Sheffield Wednesday centre-back Chey Dunkley believes summer signing Saido Berahino will be a ‘big player’ for the Owls during the 2021/22 campaign after scoring just maiden goal for the third-tier outfit, speaking to the club’s media team on Saturday evening.
The forward headed in from Barry Bannan’s corner in the sixth minute to give Wednesday an early lead against Shrewsbury Town, earning the recently-relegated side a point at Hillsborough after seeing the Shropshire side get their equaliser later in the half through Ryan Bowman.
Berahino arrived from Zulte Waregem on deadline day for an undisclosed fee after a reasonably unsuccessful two-year spell in Belgium, giving him another chance to make an impact in England after failing to live up to expectations at Stoke City.
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He links up with Sheffield Wednesday manager Darren Moore again, with the duo previously working together at West Bromwich Albion where the 28-year-old enjoyed the most successful spell of his playing career so far.
During the 2014/15 Premier League campaign, he scored 14 goals in 38 appearances but after a failed tactic to try and force a move away from The Hawthorns, he has failed to replicate that form since.
However, League One may be the place where Berahino could thrive and Owls teammate Chey Dunkley believes he will continue to be an important piece to Wednesday’s jigsaw.
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Speaking after the match, Dunkley said: “He’ll be a big player for us. I don’t need to speak about Saido and where he’s come from and the talent, he’s definitely got the talent. It’s just about him getting game-time, finding his feet.
“The squad’s strong and it is horses for courses and we didn’t get the result today. So that’s the one, the gaffer’s probably going to be looking at the squad and thinking who is our best team to get the results. But for him (Saido Berahino) it’s a definite positive for him to get a goal.”
How much of a success Berahino will be in South Yorkshire will depend on his mindset, because everyone has seen what he could do when he was at West Brom.
However, his career has been tainted by a lack of progress since and he will be hoping to get himself back on track after several underwhelming years under a man he’s worked with before.
If Darren Moore can’t get a tune out of him, then it really is looking bad for the Burundi international and his career prospects because he has a great opportunity with a team who are likely to be competing at the top end of the table at the end of the campaign.
With Barry Bannan and other creative players at their disposal, there should be no lack of service to the 28-year-old who will be relieved to have opened his account for his new side. This will help to settle any nerves and it must have been particularly satisfying getting his first in front of the Hillsborough crowd.
It would be no surprise to see him become a fan favourite in South Yorkshire, but he needs to keep his head down and take each game one at a time if he wants to lead Sheffield Wednesday back to the Championship.