Academy boss encourages former protégé
THE launch of the new Academy building this week highlighted past, present and future generations of Albion players who have come through the youth system.
But what of one of our most recent first-team graduates, Saido Berahino?
Academy Manager Mark Harrison speaks about our 13-goal leading scorer, the challenges he's faced and receiving his first-ever England call-up.
"The hardest job in the game is scoring goals and as a team, at this level, we haven’t created an abundance of chances thus far this season, so if you score goals for us, you’re doing a good job. But I had a chat with Saido a few weeks ago and I reminded him that as quickly as you can rise to the top, you can fall away again.
"I don’t think people realise just how hard the disappointment of going away with England and not playing in either game hit him. It was great that he got called up, but I think he was in such a good place at that point, things were going his way and that came as a setback to him. He genuinely backed himself to go on the pitch and do something and I think he was a bit down after that.
"Saido himself recognises though that when he does get disappointments, he needs to manage his reaction to them better than he does. The game is full of disappointments and you can’t let them affect you and knock you off your stride and he’s working on that.
"It takes him time to get out of that low, he struggles to stay on an even keel, and we are working on that with him. It’s part of his journey, he’s maturing as a person, but in some ways, it is better that he is disappointed and hurt. It shows he does care, he does want to do well, he really did want to play for his country, those are all positives, why should we criticise him for that?
"It’s great that we have a player there who is motivated by footballing success and wants to play at the highest level. I think that is something to celebrate."
The full Mark Harrison interview can be found in Saturday's Albion News, our matchday magazine.
You know it makes sense.