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Irvine sings Berahino's praises

26 September 2014

Albion striker fourth on list of England U21 all-time leading scorers

THE sky’s the limit for Albion frontman Saido Berahino, according to head coach Alan Irvine.

Berahino finished 2013/14 as the club’s leading scorer having found the net nine times and also scooped the Young Player of the Season award. 

And the 21-year-old has continued that form this term. 

He followed up his opening-day brace at home to Sunderland with a dramatic last-gasp winner against Hull in midweek, coming three days after he superbly led the line in Albion’s victory at Tottenham.

Berahino’s exploits at club level go hand in hand with his achievements on the international scene for England’s Under-21s.

His double against Moldova earlier this month took his tally in qualifying for next summer’s European Championship to eight goals in eight games – and in turn saw him move up to fourth in the all-time U21 scoring records behind only the likes of Alan Shearer.

And Baggies boss Irvine insists Berahino has the ability to be as good as he wants to be.

“I had a conversation with him earlier this week actually, saying to him he could be a top, top player,” Irvine said. 

“His movement is very good, he can finish with both feet. There are things he still needs to work on of course, he’s a young player, but he is making quick progress and if he continues with the professional approach he has got then he will progress even quicker. 

“In the time I have been here, his training has been really good. 

“He tries really hard every single day. He stays out late to work on his finishing, he loves his football and tries to do everything we ask him to do.

“I see a really talented young player with a great future.”

Irvine will now be hoping Berahino can take that form into Sunday’s Barclays Premier League clash at home to Burnley (ko 4pm).

The Clarets are one of three teams still to record a top-flight victory this season, although they have been unfortunate to only come away with three goalless draws in their last three outings.

Irvine is naturally optimistic his charges can make it three wins in the space of eight days this weekend, although he is expecting nothing less than a tough test against Sean Dyche's side.

“Our fans will probably turn up thinking it’s a game we will win and a game we should win,” the Scot said.

“But I have watched three of Burnley’s games this year, they have drawn each of them 0-0 and have looked extremely solid defensively and also been a real threat going forward. How they haven't scored in those three games, I'm not quite sure? 

“They are a very good unit, their team work and work-ethic is very good, they are organised, disciplined and they’ve got some good players. 

“They are a group of lads who came out of the Championship in some style and they’re really enjoying the early part of this season.”

Brown Ideye, Victor Anichebe and Chris Baird all missed training today but it is hoped the trio will be okay to feature tomorrow.

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