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Irvine keen to protect Berahino


West Brom striker Georgios Samaras has been dropped by Greece

West Brom striker Georgios Samaras has been dropped by Greece

West Brom striker Georgios Samaras has been dropped by Greece

Alan Irvine admits he is worried about the spotlight on Saido Berahino and insisted he is keeping a close eye on the West Brom star.

The Baggies boss is cautious about the pressure placed on the striker after his dream start to the season.

Berahino is the club's eight-goal top scorer and is the top English marksman in the Barclays Premier League.

The Under-21 international is also tipped for a senior call-up next month but Irvine wants to protect his player.

"So far he is coping well but it does worry me as it's a lot to ask of a young player," he said.

"The big thing for him is that, in order to maximise the potential, he has got to train the way he has been training, live life as he has been living life and then hopefully put in the performances he has been so far.

"That is difficult enough without all of the added attention he has been getting but so far he is handling it very well."

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The Baggies go to Leicester in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday after being dumped out of the Capital One Cup by Bournemouth on Tuesday.

They drew 2-2 with Crystal Palace in their last top flight game when Berahino scored a last-minute penalty to level.

Irvine was assistant manager at Everton when Wayne Rooney broke into the side as a 16-year-old and the Scot believes Berahino can handle the spotlight in the same way as the England skipper.

He said: "Wayne was extremely mature as far as all that is concerned. He had a short fuse but has got better at managing that.

"Other than that Wayne had no problems mentally, he was unbelievably strong and loved playing football.

"We had no concerns and we tried to teach him how he needed to be.

"I'm not seeing Saido being a problem, the biggest thing is we support him as coaches and everyone provides him with as much support as possible."

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