Steve Clarke today claimed he is “confident” Saido Berahino will agree a new West Bromwich Albion contract.
The 20-year-old is in talks over a new deal following his stunning start to the season with the Baggies and England Under-21s.
Clarke believes agreement will be reached – but laughed off suggestions that Berahino could be on Roy Hodgson’s World Cup radar.
“Saido’s contract is under discussion,” said Clarke. “Three weeks ago I said I was confident something would be sorted out – and I’m still confident.
“Six weeks ago, nobody spoke about Saido and now people want to put him in the World Cup squad.
“We have to keep a sense of realism. He has had a fantastic start to the season and has scored some goals for the Under-21s against opposition that is not the strongest.
“He has scored a Premier League goal for us and he is doing all right.
“In football you never say never to anything, but at the moment I would like to see everyone back off Saido and give him time to develop.
“I will try to look after him. I will try to keep his confidence high and not allow him to get carried away with his emotions or get over-confident or cocky.”
Burundi-born Berahino’s first Premier League goal sealed an historic 2-1 win at Manchester United.
And Clarke admitted having a young player come through was a big lift.
“You can imagine how pleased with themselves the academy staff are,” he said. “Chelsea nicked Izzy Brown, then before the season is four weeks old we have got another one that has come through.”