Albion midfielder James Morrison today praised Saido Berahino for ditching his “big-time” approach as the young Hawthorns star emerged as a shock England contender.
Berahino, who netted his second Premier League goal in Saturday’s 2-0 win against Crystal Palace, is believed to be in the frame for Roy Hodgson’s squad for this month’s friendlies against Chile and Germany.
And Morrison today hailed the 20-year-old, who is close to agreeing a new contract but currently still earns just £850 per week, for kick-starting his Premier League career with a change of approach.
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“He was a bit big-time really,” said Morrison about Berahino’s past.
“But he realised that and since then has never looked back and has been a model professional.
“He has worked extremely hard to get where he is. Last season he had a difficult time with injury.
“He has worked really hard, come back in pre-season and lost a lot of weight and looks fit.
“He has been hungry to get in the first team and he has taken his chance with both hands. When he gets a chance he will score.”
Former Albion boss Hodgson is considering including Berahino in his squad for the friendlies, which is due to be announced this week.
The speculation follows four goals in his first three appearances for England Under-21s and six in all competitions for the Baggies this season.
He has been in talks for several weeks over a contract extension and the negotiations look to be nearing a conclusion.
“Another goal is another few pounds,” joked Morrison.
Meanwhile, boss Steve Clarke played down another spat between defender Jonas Olsson and a section of The Hawthorns crowd.
The Swede, who has responded to critics in the past, again exchanged words with fans in the West Stand during the second half on Saturday following some critical comments.
“It’s a passionate game and people react,” said Clarke. “I didn’t see what happened.”