Sport Soccer

Thursday 12 December 2019

Berahino backed for England call-up

Saido Berahino, second right, took his tally for the season to five in all competitions
Saido Berahino, second right, took his tally for the season to five in all competitions

West Brom head coach Alan Irvine has tipped Saido Berahino to make an England breakthrough after his brace battered Burnley.

Berahino's brace helped Albion hammer the Clarets 4-0 at The Hawthorns on Sunday, and made him the top-scoring Englishman in the Barclays Premier League with four goals.

Roy Hodgson's England face San Marino and Estonia in Euro 2016 qualifiers next month and Irvine believes 21-year-old Berahino, who has nine goals in 11 under-21 games - can make the step up to the senior side.

"If he keeps on playing like that and keeps on scoring goals then he'll get all those rewards," the Scot said.

"I don't think Roy Hodgson will be looking and saying 'he's too young' or anything like that.

"He'll put him in as he's shown already - if he feels he's the best player for the position.

"The goals he's scored so far will certainly make Roy think about him.

"But right now, Saido's got to keep working the way he does. He stays to do finishing and movement after training every day. And he's getting the benefits from all of that."

Craig Dawson and Graham Dorrans also scored as the Baggies sealed their third successive win to move up to 10th in the table.

Irvine added: "I'm delighted for the players and I said after the Everton game (a 2-0 defeat) there were a lot of really positive things. It was difficult for people to look at it that way because of the result, but I felt we were going the right way.

"I am not going to get carried away. We have had three wins - three very good wins - with very good performances.

"The moment you get carried away in this game it will come back and bite you in the behind. We have to keep working hard and make sure we are well prepared. At the start of the season there were times when I didn't have a full squad to pick from."

Burnley were toothless and have scored just once in the league this season.

They are also now goalless in eight hours and 46 minutes in the top flight.

Lukas Jutkiewicz had a header saved by Ben Foster in the second half but they never looked like breaching the organised hosts.

Defeat left them winless and bottom of the table, and boss Sean Dyche admitted the visitors deserved nothing.

He said: "I broke my leg here as a 17-year-old playing for Nottingham Forest. It's one of the rare 'block' grounds I've got.

"It doesn't quite happen for me here. I didn't tell anyone before the game in case it spread.

"Disappointing pretty much covers it, but credit to West Brom and the way they played.

"You can't afford to have a bad game against a side like that in the Premier League.

"We just didn't deal with it. I won't hide behind the fact we had players missing and it was very poor we gave two goals away from corners.

"Everyone knows the script. If you pull a goal back at 2-0 you're back in it.

"The players need to have the mentality to cope with that. In the Championship you can get away with it if three or four players have a bad game, but not in the Premier League - it's relentless."

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