And Clarke reveals striker's prospects of starting versus Gunners
STEVE Clarke has called for a period of ‘calm’ around Saido Berahino as he revealed the striker sensation could be in line for his first Barclays Premier League start against Arsenal on Sunday (ko 4pm).
The 20-year-old has been catapulted into the spotlight following his match-winning goal in last Saturday’s historic 2-1 win at Manchester United.
And Clarke is eager to keep his feet on the ground to make the most of his undoubted talents.
“Saido’s been good, level-headed in training and scoring goals,” said the Albion boss.
“He’s in a really good place just now.
“He’s had a good five or six weeks, if you take into account his performances for England Under-21s as well.
“Every season there is always someone who bursts onto the scene - and we’re fortunate it’s Saido.
“He was terrific last week and deserves all the plaudits he gets.
“Our job is to keep his feet on the ground and make sure he continues to improve as a player.
“That’s the most important thing.
“Now is a time for everyone to be calm and focus on improving Saido as a player.
“That’s the most important thing.”
Clarke admits Berahino’s hunger to succeed is proving infectious inside the Baggies camp.
He added: “Whichever club you’re at, when you have one of your own or one of the Academy boys coming through, and playing with the level of ability Saido has shown - but also the hunger and determination to break into the first team – it lifts people.
“Since the first day of pre-season Saido has been electric.
“He’s forced his way into the team – there’s no two ways about it.
“You look at the number of forward players we’ve got – and when I sit down every week to think about the starters for my team, Saido is always in my thoughts.
“He’s got a chance of starting against Arsenal.
“Obviously, I’ve got to look at each game on its own merits – but, based on his performance last week, if I started him, nobody could quibble about it.
“His performances in training and matches put him right in contention for a starting place.”