Saido Berahino not fit enough for Stoke, says Paul Lambert
Last Updated: 02/03/18 7:30am
Saido Berahino has been told by Stoke manager Paul Lambert that he is not fit enough to play for the club.
Berahino's last goal, in a 3-2 win for West Brom against Crystal Palace, was two years - and 43 appearances - ago.
Mark Hughes, sacked as Stoke manager in January, maintained Berahino was not in a condition to regularly play despite a £12m move, and new boss Lambert shares a similar opinion.
"He's not up to my level of fitness," said Lambert, ahead of Stoke's game against Southampton on Saturday. "He's a fit lad, but there's got to be more to it, that he's got to work on.
"I have told him that, so he knows the situation and what I'm explaining. I think he's been really good with me working away at it, but it has to come from him as well.
"We have given him a wee programme to stick to as well. We're in a situation where we need everyone to perform when they're called upon."
Stoke are just one place off the bottom of the Premier League and are without a win in four matches.
But Maxim Choupo-Moting, Mame Biram Diouf and Peter Crouch remain Lambert's preferred forwards.
"I think he's [Berahino] an absolutely fantastic, incredible finisher, but you need a bit more at times," said Lambert.
"He worked hard last week and he's worked hard since, but it's just whether I think he's fit enough to stake a claim for it. I don't think he's up to the levels he should be.
"He's going to have to earn the right to get into the side and he's going to have to work for it. I don't think you can create it … it (finishing) is just a gift, but you've got to work."