West Bromwich Albion of the English Premier League recently announced they have agreed to a new contract with 20-year-old Saido Berahino which will keep the player at the Hawthorns until 2017. Berahino has been one of the most pleasant surprises in the league and at West Brom so far this season with six goals in 10 games. One of the goals was the game winner in a victory at Old Trafford over reigning league champions Manchester United. The England Under-21 international also has six goals in four contests for his homeland.
Berahino joined West Brom’s youth setup when he was just 11 years old. Richard Garlick, the club’s technical director stated, “It was always our intention to reward Saido for the huge strides he has made over the past few months. To be able to reward one of our protégés, who has worked his way up through the ranks from the age of 11, is a great moment for the club.”
He added that Berahino’s development over the past decade is an excellent reflection on the team’s hard-working youth academy staff and everybody should be proud of what the young man has achieved in his pro football career so far. Garlick said the goal of the academy is to provide the first team with one or two good players each season. “We hope this is the start of that process as we feel we have a number of other young, exciting players coming through.”
Garlick did caution Berahino that he shouldn’t get carried away though after signing the new contract and he needs to keep playing with the same determination and hunger that got him this far in the first place. He remarked that Berahino has to remember that he’s still just 20 years old and there are going to be some occasions when he might not be playing as often as he would like. Garlick feels the player needs to keep developing at the same advanced rate and both he and the club need to exercise patience.