Saido Berahino delighted by U21 winner
Saido Berahino has given West Bromwich Albion head coach Steve Clarke more to think about following his winner for the England Under-21s on Thursday.
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The Burundi-born 20-year-old marked his debut for the side by hitting a stunning winner in the 1-0 victory against Moldova at Reading.
His thunderous near-post finish came nine days after he hit a Capital One Cup hat-trick against Newport -- heroics he then followed up with a brief Premier League debut as a substitute in the 2-0 home defeat by Swansea.
Berahino fell in love with football by playing barefoot in the streets of the Burundi capital, Bujumbura, before fleeing to Birmingham at the age of ten with his mother after his father was killed in the civil war.
“I thank God I got one goal and we won the game. I started well,” he said of Thursday’s win.
“I feel like I’ve been given a second chance and I have to grab it with both of my hands. I have to go for it. If I fail, that’s what was meant to be, it was God’s plan.
“I appreciate this life. If you told me ten years ago when I came here that I would be playing for West Bromwich Albion and England, I would not have believed you.
“It’s amazing. I couldn’t dream of it going that way. I’m pinching myself.
“Moldova were brilliant defensively and cleared a few off the line. At least we were creating chances, which is a positive sign.”
Clarke has already said that Berahino has forced a way into his plans, with bottom-of-the-table Albion still awaiting their first Premier League goal of the season.
But the head coach now has a number of options up front following the emergence of Berahino, the return to the fold of Nicolas Anelka, the recent capture of Scott Sinclair and the big-money deadline-day signings of Stephane Sessegnon and Victor Anichebe.