West Bromwich Albion manager Alan Irvine has given his backing to Saido Berahino’s England credentials, after the 21-year-old’s brace in Sunday’s 4-0 home win over Burnley fired the Baggies into the top half of the Premier League table.
The promising striker is now the leading English scorer in the league, with four goals in six games, and Irvine believes Roy Hodgson should be watching him closely ahead of next month’s European Championship qualifiers against San Marino and Estonia.
‘That will certainly make Roy think about him,’ he was quoted as saying in the Birmingham Mail. ‘If he keeps on playing like that and keeps on scoring goals he will get all those rewards.
‘I don’t think Roy will be looking and saying “He’s too young”, or anything like that.
‘He will put him in, as he has shown already, if he feels he’s the best player for the position.’
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Berahino first burst onto the scene with West Brom at the start of last season, netting a hat-trick in the League Cup against Newport County, before scoring the game-winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford.
The under-21 international’s form suffered during the second half of the campaign, however, after signing a new long-term contract, while there were also reports of a dressing room bust up with teammate James Morrison in April over his attitude.
Irvine insists, though, that there have been no problems since his arrival at the club and thinks his star front man is well on track to fulfilling his potential with his dedication to improving his game.
‘Right now Saido has just got to keep on working in the way that he does,’ he said.
‘He works on his game every single day, he stays to do finishing and movement after training has finished every day and he is getting the reward for all of that.
‘He is certainly a talented young player. His movement for such a young player is very good.
‘He was a wee bit frustrated at half time because he felt as if he had made runs and things hadn’t quite come off.
‘I just said to him “As a striker, if you are going to score goals you are going to have to make a lot of runs for that one that actually all comes together”.
‘Fortunately he got that when it came to him just right and his finish was great. He can finish with both feet, he is a great professional.
‘I know that people have talked about problems in the past, I haven’t seen a moment of that. He has been a pleasure to work with. He has got a great future.’