West Brom defender Gareth McAuley offers Saido Berahino warning

Saido Berahino Albion

West Bromwich Albion defender Gareth McAuley admits the weight of expectation has started to take its toll on England squad member Saido Berahino.

The 2014/15 campaign has been a memorable one for Saido Berahino, with his efforts for West Bromwich Albion drawing widespread acclaim and senior England recognition.

His levels have dipped slightly, though, since forming part of Roy Hodgson’s last Three Lions squad, with expectation levels having risen around the 21-year-old forward.

All eight of his goals this season came prior to the November international break, and he was left out of the Baggies squad for Saturday’s Premier League clash with Hull City.

Alan Irvine is wary of asking too much from the youngster and hopes a period of rest will help to recharge Berahino’s batteries and bring him back to top form.

  GoalsTotal Scoring AttOntarget Scoring AttBig Chance MissedAppearancesMins Played
Saido Berahino 7 37 15 2 15 1,262

Other members of the Hawthorns squad are also prepared to help nurture an exciting talent through a testing period, with experienced defender Gareth McAuley aware that pressure can take its toll on those unaccustomed to life under the brightest of spotlights.

He said in the Birmingham Mail: “It’s been difficult because there’s been a hell of a lot of pressure put on Saido from outside the camp.

“There has been a lot of speculation, a lot of hype, the England call-up and a lot of other things going on. It’s a lot for a young player to deal with.

“We have tried to help him out and keep him level but he has probably felt the effects of it in the last month. And obviously he has been the main player on the pitch for us at the start of the season because he’s been the one getting the goals.

“But he’s still a young player and it’s been difficult for him playing the amount of football that he has done.”

It is important for West Brom to handle Berahino with care, with it possible that a young star could burn out before fulfilling his true potential.

An enforced break may be just what he needs to mull everything over, reflect on what he has achieved and look to kick on into the New Year.

The Baggies need to get him firing on all cylinders again as they have gone five games without a win, losing four, to slip to within one point of the top-flight relegation zone.

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