Steve Clarke heaped praise on Saido Berahino and Albion’s Academy after the young striker scored a 37 minute hat-trick during the Baggies’ 3-0 win over Newport County.
Berahino scored just seven minutes into his full Albion debut after slotting home following Scott Sinclair’s through ball.
He made it two for the night in the 26th minute when he fired an unstoppable effort from the edge of the area into the top corner and then capped his debut with a penalty seven minutes before half time.
The 20-year-old, who was also called up to the England Under-21 squad, has been with the Baggies since he was 11 and progressed through the youth ranks at The Hawthorns.
Clarke is pleased the young striker took his first team opportunity having suffered a serious knee injury last season.
“I’m delighted for the boy because he’s worked ever so hard to get his chance,” he said.
“He took his opportunity with both hands tonight.
“Saido was the best player on the pitch in the first half.
“He’s given me a lot to think about and I’m really pleased about that.
“Saido’s a born goalscorer who’s hungry to do well.
“His talent is there and he has played for England at almost every age level.
“Tonight's great for the club because he’s an Academy graduate.
“He’s a credit to Mark Harrison and the rest of his Academy staff.
“It’s a difficult job trying to get a player through any Academy system.
“But they’ve done a great job with Saido.”
Does Berahino deserve a first team chance against Swansea? Have your say here at Baggies Banter.
Source: WBA MAD