Joint-assistant head coach confident striker will stay focused
KEITH Downing says Saido Berahino has his feet firmly on the ground – after the youngster inspired Albion to a 3-1 victory over Atromitos at Shrewsbury Town’s Greenhous Meadow last night.
The striker, who turns 20 on Sunday, netted the Baggies’ second goal of the evening, with Nicolas Anelka and Markus Rosenberg also on the scoresheet after the Greek Superleague outfit took an early lead.
And Downing has called on Berahino to learn as much as possible from the Baggies’ experienced strike-force.
“Saido did exceptionally well,” said the joint-assistant head coach.
“I know what he’s like after five years or so of working with him.
“He’s showing some good potential.
“He’s got some good players around him and Nico [Anelka] is helping him.
“But the boy is just learning his trade.
“I’m very conscious of young players getting thrown into the limelight.
“It’s important that we keep his feet on the ground and make sure that he’s learning every day.
“He’s a very level-headed boy and I’m sure he’ll understand that.
“If you ask him, he is just taking every day and every training session as it comes.
“He’s progressing very nicely.
“He doesn’t get ruffled with people around him, or the occasion.
“His ability is good and he’s got to keep learning and progressing.
“His temperament is right and he’s very focused.”
Downing has been impressed with Berahino’s progress since getting sidelined while on loan at Peterborough last season.
“He had a nasty injury where he was out for around six months,” added Downing.
“He’s come back really strong.
“We were all really pleased with him last night.
“His whole contribution to the team was good. Not just his attacking, but his defensive work as well.
“He showed promise at the start of last season but then got injured, so hopefully he can stay injury-free this season and progress like he is at the moment.”
Downing also explained Ben Foster’s absence against Atromitos and revealed Goran Popov was in good health after limping from the field late on.
“Goran has a cut to his knee but it’s just a gash," he added.
“Ben’s fine. He played on Saturday. Boaz [Myhill] and Luke [Daniels] took charge today.”