Club News

Irvine urges Berahino to maintain focus

Irvine issues Berahino advice

ALAN Irvine aims to tap into his past experiences working with up-and-coming footballers to ensure Saido Berahino maintains his progress.

Berahino has become Albion's man-of-the-moment following a recent surge of goals - most recently his late penalty against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Irvine helped to nurture several young players during his previous spells at Everton, notably the likes of Wayne Rooney, Ross Barkley, Jack Rodwell and Albion's current first-team striker Victor Anichebe.

The Baggies head coach feels Berahino must embrace the advice and guidance as his profile continues to grow.

Asked whether Berahino could become an 'elite' player, Irvine replied: "I think so. As long as he goes about his job in a way he is doing now - on the field and off it. 

"Some can't handle that pressure, they get distracted so it is important he takes everything that is going on at the moment in his stride.

"I have quite a lot of chats with Saido - nothing major just little chats to just make sure he is going down the right road.

"And I have been fortunate enough to have worked with a number of very talented young players over the years. Wayne Rooney springs to mind.

"Others too - Everton had a record of getting 16 year-olds into first teams so it is very important we spend time talking to these boys and making sure everything is right.

"It is just relaxed chats, not a case of me saying you need come into my office.

"We are just looking for any little signs that might make you think a player is getting distracted. It is part if the job.

"You have to know the players as people, it is not just about the training ground or a plan for the game.

"Saido's getting an awful lot of attention so it is vitally important that we are there to support him and make sure that doesn't take him off track."

Irvine added: "If you are going to be a top player you have to have a lot of the full package.

"Everyone talks about technical, tactical, physical, psychological aspects. But you cannot be a top player unless you score highly in all of them.

"You might score more highly in a couple of areas but you can't possibly be a top player if you don't score highly in all.

"Saido has a lot of that package but he is still at that age where it can go one way or another. 

"The last thing you can do is have anything that effects any of those areas. Of course the biggest of all is the psychological."