Club News

Irvine claims Saido is made of the 'Wright' stuff

Palace legend can be Berahino inspiration

ALAN Irvine is to consider tapping into the know-how of a Crystal Palace legend - to ensure Saido Berahino's career goes the 'Wright' way.

The Albion head coach sees similarities between Berahino and Ian Wright, who was Irvine's team-mate at Selhurst Park during the mid-to-late 1980s.

Wright went onto score 117 goals in 277 games for the south Londoners before making a big money move to Arsenal.

He also netted nine goals in 33 internationals for England between 1991-98.

Albion take on Palace at The Hawthorns this afternoon with Berahino hoping to add to his six Barclays Premier League goals for this season.

Irvine feels the two strikers are very similar.

"I played with Ian at Crystal Palace and Wrighty had that energy and enthusiasm and wanted to run in behind people," said Irvine.

"I have actually done a couple of things with him in the last few weeks - on the radio and television, and have been chatting with him about that.

"He had that enthusiasm. What Saido needs to do is keep on doing that - it's a real strength of his that he has that ability to run in behind. If he keeps doing that then defenders don't like it and he will keep on getting his opportunities.

"I haven't said he (Berahino) is as good as Ian but he is that type and he is heading in that direction.

"Ian became better and better as he went on, that was down to what he already had plus the fact he never lost that enthusiasm. He always had that approach to the game and his training.

"Ian was one who stayed behind at the end of training as well and practised, just as Saido does."

Asked whether he planned to call a meeting between Berahino to Wright, Irvine joked: "I would be frightened what he (Wright) might do with him!

"It might happen, if I feel Saido could do with a little bit of extra help, I might well do that.

"But it's not something I am thinking about at this particular moment in time.

"Funnily enough I have spoken to Saido and said that Ian and I have chatted about him. I don't even know if Saido remembers who Ian was, I have got to remember what age I am.

"He has got great potential and at Saido's age Ian Wright was raw. But he had real potential, what he did was kept on working at his game and he got better and better.

"And that's where Saido could be, a top striker. But he needs to maintain this approach that he has got at this moment, both on and off the training ground.

"The big danger would be if he gets distracted by anything else that goes on, or if he just loses that little bit of focus.

"He has got to keep really focused on what it is that is getting him all this attention at this moment and not be distracted by it."

Irvine, a one-time coach at Newcastle, continued: "I worked with Alan Shearer on a couple of occasions. 

"He was unebelievably focused on scoring goals and never let anything that was going on outside of all of that, get in the way.

"If you are playing well and scoring goals, good things are going to happen."