Club News

Berahino: I owe Baggies

Young striker in dreamland after sensational cup hat-trick

SAIDO Berahino hopes his ‘dream’ Capital One Cup hat-trick to beat Newport 3-0 last night goes some way to repaying the debt he feels he owes Albion.

The 20-year-old striker has been with the club since Under-12s level after escaping war-torn African nation Burundi with his mother Liliane, brother and sisters.

They were granted political asylum in Newtown and he became the first player to be signed by the Baggies' then-Centre of Excellence from inner-city kids football team Phoenix United.

And the Academy product admits blazing a 31-minute treble on his senior Hawthorns debut to ease the Baggies through to tonight’s third-round draw was a proud moment for him.

“It was amazing the way it went, it was my home debut as well,” said Berahino.

“I just take every day as it comes. Football is crazy, one moment you are down and the next you are high. I just thank God for blessing me.

“I said to the lads I could not have dreamt for this day.

“I did not think about the hat-trick when taking the penalty, I just wanted to score and it went in. I was just happy about it.

“I’ll give the matchball to mum and she’ll decide where to put it. I live with her and she’ll probably mount it.”

The striker’s League Cup heroics also came on the same day he earned his second successive call-up to the England Under-21s squad.

He is hoping for his first cap at that level against Moldova tomorrow week – and one day hopes to represent England at full international level.

“The past is not something I like to talk about but it wasn’t a great experience and I just thank God for giving me another opportunity in life to come to England and have a different life,” he insisted.

“I was playing for Phoenix United and I got scouted from the Under-12s, when I was 11 years old. It’s just been an incredible journey.

“I had only been playing in England for about a year when I was picked up by West Brom and it’s just been unbelievable.

“West Brom’s played a big role in my life. They have looked after me from a young age and I feel like I owe them something.

“From a young age my family was really into football so it started back in Africa and when I came here that’s when I learnt more about football.

“In Africa it was just playing with joy and happiness, as soon as I came here it was more like a job.

“You have to learn certain things and take in information.

“Everyone’s been great at West Brom, everyone has played a key role in my life and I want to thank them all.”
He added: “It’s great I got noticed and can play for England. England is a big part of my life as they gave me a second chance.

“It’s amazing, even though I’m not British-born I feel English as I have lived here for ten years. It’s a fantastic place to be.

“It’s everyone’s dream to play for England, you want to keep progressing every day and one day I hope I can play for England as a full international.”