ALAN Irvine says a love for football is the driving force behind Saido Berahino’s rise to prominence after the Albion Academy product’s deadly double in today’s 2-2 draw with Sunderland.
The 21-year-old striker kept his cool to level the scores with a first-half penalty and his second strike of the game came within five minutes of being the winner.
He is already almost halfway towards his five-goal top-flight tally of last term and Irvine has praised his desire to improve.
“It could be a very big season for him,” said the Baggies boss.
“He’s a terrific lad, he’s very, very talented and works very hard at his game.
“He’s a pleasure to work with and has a love for football.
“And with the talent he’s got and all that professional attitude I think he could be a very good player for this season and beyond that.”
Club-record signing Brown Ideye was on the bench after just a week training at Albion.
But Irvine was happy he did not have to call on the Nigeria international.
“He’s only been here a week so it’s very difficult for him to be up to match fitness,” he added.
“He’s played part of a game at Under-21 level at the training ground.
“He’s actually in good condition physically but I think it would be a big, big ask for him.
“Not just in terms of the physical side of things but him understanding what we’re trying to do.
“He’s still getting to know the names of everyone and the staff.
“It’s asking a lot to throw someone into a Premier League game at that point – but I would have done it if I had needed to.”