Southgate: West Brom's Saido Berahino is going to be a top player

The 21-year-old is set to be a key figure in England's European Under-21 Championships campaign later this month, with Newcastle lurking over the striker.

Saido Berahino has been rewarded with his superb season for West Brom with a place in the England Under-21 squad for the upcoming European Championships, and it's no surprise that one person in particular was a big fan of the forward, according to comments in the Birmingham Mail.

Under-21s boss Gareth Southgate has told the media that he has noticed a big improvement in the youngster this season. But he isn't the only one, with Newcastle United also said to have taken note of the 21-year-old after he scrored 20 goals in 45 matches for the Hawthorns outfit, with the Mirror crediting new Magpies boss Steve McClaren with an interest in a player who was called into Roy Hodgson's full England side earlier in the season.

Southgate has been particularly impressed with how the young striker has handled a couple of off the field problems this season.

“Saido is a quality finisher. He’s been a pleasure to work with," the former Middlesbrough boss is quoted as saying in the Birmingham Mail.

"It’s clear there have been a couple of dips off the field in the last year. What I like about him is that there is always recognition.

“There’s never a denial. You hope as time goes on there are fewer dips and then none at all. He has got a fantastic chance of being a top player.”

Despite those occasional struggles aside from the pitch, Southgate was clearly eager to underline how much of a quality player the Baggies have on their hands.

And he emphasised how a decent pre-season last summer was vital to his development, while the appointment and input of Tony Pulis midway through the campaign has also done wonders for his game.

“This year he got himself physically right in pre-season, in great shape,’’ added Southgate.

“The reward was getting in West Brom’s first team. Working with Tony [Pulis] added tactical understanding."

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