Joint-assistant head coach praises veteran's impact on youngster
KEVIN Keen believes Saido Berahino’s rise to prominence is due in no small part to Nicolas Anelka.
Berahino has made his debut for both Albion and England Under-21s, netted his maiden senior hat-trick and scored his first Barclays Premier League goal this term.
And Keen reckons the Academy graduate is benefitting from regular conversations with former Premier League Golden Boot winner Anelka.
“Nico’s a great part of the squad - he’s a super person to have around the place,” said Keen.
“His qualities are still there for everyone to see.
"The work he does day in, day out, helping someone like Saido, who sees his movement, touch and finishing.
“There is no doubt the likes of Saido and Matej Vydra will improve because of that, as Romelu did last year working with the likes of Shane Long, Marco Fortuné and Peter Odemwingie.
“So, with Nico, it's not just what the media or supporters see on a Saturday.
"There is a much bigger role that he plays at this club and I think he's been fantastic for us.
“I've seen him speaking to Saido - he's fantastic within the group.
“It's not just the way he plays the game and his technique, but everything else he does.”
Keen admits Anelka may be disappointed not to have got on the scoresheet for the Baggies but remains adamant the former Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester City striker will hit the net regularly this term.
“You’d probably have to ask Nico whether frustration is creeping in,” he added.
“I see him training well every day and my view is that he’s had a big part to play in the run of games where we’ve done well.
“Steve [Clarke] will use him as and when he thinks he’s needed.
“I would think Nico’s a little bit disappointed not to have scored.
“But he’s made a big contribution to the season so far.
“He’ll make bigger contributions going forward and he’ll definitely score goals."