West Brom recruiter 'never predicted' Berahino England call-up

Saido Berahino is set to make his debut for the senior England squad on Tuesday evening.

Berahino has started the season in remarkable form, scoring seven goals in 11 Premier League games, and currently leading the scoring charts for Englishmen in the division.

He has been largely responsible for West Bromwich Albion’s mid-table position this term, and has been improving week-by-week from the young forward who burst onto the scene last season. Having netted five goals in 32 appearances after making his debut in a 2-0 defeat to Swansea City, the 21-year-old became a fixture in the first-team, and scored his first league goal for the club against Manchester United - grabbing the winner in a 2-1 victory over the Red Devils.

His rise to prominence has coincided with international recognition, and, having helped the England Under-21’s qualify for the 2015 European Championships, he received his first official call-up for the full Three Lions’ squad for the Euro 2016 qualifier with Slovenia - in which he failed to take to the field in a 3-1 victory - and Tuesday evening’s friendly with Scotland.

He is expected to receive his first cap in the fixture with England’s great rivals, and, if Roy Hodgson does select him for action, there is one man who will be pleasantly surprised. Steve Hopcroft, who runs the Academy recruitment programme at West Brom, has admitted that an England call-up is deserved for the young forward, but has claimed that no one would have expected him to achieve such a feat.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Hopcroft said: “The England call-up is something he fully deserves but there is no way anyone can have predicted that he would eventually get to that level, even though he was one of the top two players in his age group.”

Hopcroft has attributed a lot of Berahino’s success to his mentality, claiming that he is a humble hard-worker who has all the ability to become a top player.

“A lot of players stray off the path and never come back,” he added. “But Saido was always a happy boy, a humble kid.

“Even now at 21 he lives with his mum and takes his mum and sisters on holiday.

“He’s someone we’re very proud of and if he stays the way he’s always been he’s got a great chance of being a top player.”

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