An England under-21s football star has told a crown court jury of his respect for a West Bromwich Albion coach who is accused of sexual assault.
Saido Berahino, who this week scored a goal for the England under 21s team against Finland in a European Championship qualifier, appeared as a witness for the defence in the trial of Mark O’Shea at Wolverhampton Crown Court.
O’Shea, aged 35, is accused of six charges of sexual assault on a child under the age of 13. He denies all the charges.
Berahino, a professional on the books of West Bromwich Albion who netted a hat trick against Newport County this season, spoke about O’Shea’s character.
The 20-year-old striker said: “You could see that he always wanted us to do well.”
Miss Samantha Forsyth, defending asked him: “Did you respect him?”
Berahino answered: “Yes I did.”
Tamworth Football club player Lateef Alliyu, aged 21, who left West Bromwich Albion at the age of 19, also took to the witness stand.
He said he ‘got on well’ with O’Shea. The court had heard from the two alleged victims who cannot be named for legal reasons who said O’Shea would play inappropriate games with them.
O’Shea, of Coles Lane in Sutton Coldfield, was cross-examined by prosecutor Mr Howard Searle about these claims.
He asked him: “You must be suggesting they (the boys) are lying about that?
O’Shea answered: “Correct, it never happened”.
The trial continues.