Youngster determined to learn from fellow strikers
SAIDO Berahino insists playing alongside Nicolas Anelka is the fulfilment of a lifelong dream.
The Burundi-born striker, who turns 20 on Sunday, netted during a 3-1 victory over Atromitos on Monday – with the former France international at his side for the majority of the second half.
And the Baggies youngster hopes to soak up as much knowledge as possible from Albion’s experienced strike-force.
“When I was young I used to watch Nico on TV, so to actually play with him is a bit of a dream,” said Berahino.
“All the strikers here are really good players and I try to pick up things from all of them. I am just trying to be like a sponge.
“I can’t ask for more, really, and it’s up to me to take the opportunity.”
Berahino also had high praise for Albion’s coaching and backroom staff, who worked tirelessly with the forward after injury sidelined him for six months of last season.
“The staff have been brilliant, giving me information all the time and trying to guide me the right way,” added Berahino.
“Monday was the first time I’ve ever played more than 30 minutes in pre-season for the first team so I tried to enjoy myself.
“Last season I was injured for a long period so this time I’ve just tried to come back and be ready for the season.
“Being out for so long definitely made me stronger because it’s something I’ve never experienced before.”
The Albion academy product insists he is not getting carried away with his progress as the new Barclays Premier League campaign approaches.
“At the moment I am just taking each game as it comes," he added.
“I have to play to the best of my ability in every game and the rest will take care of itself.
“When a head coach has faith in you, you can’t ask for more than that.”
Berahino will be hoping to further impress Steve Clarke when Albion take on Serie A outfit Genoa at Telford’s News Bucks Head this evening (ko 7.30pm).
Tickets, which are priced £15 adults and £10 concessions, are available at the turnstiles.