Head coach Alan Irvine has backed Saido Berahino to become West Bromwich Albion’s main man after recapturing his spark.
The striker will lead the West Brom line again against Everton on Saturday as Irvine hunts his first league win.
He scored twice in England Under-21s’ 3-0 win over Moldova on Monday and has four goals for club and country this season.
Berahino is the only player to score for Albion in the English Premier League this season, a double in their opening-day 2-2 draw with Sunderland.
They have drawn a blank at Southampton and in a wretched 3-0 defeat at Swansea, with new £10 million (Dh59.7m) man Brown Ideye yet to settle and Georgios Samaras lacking match fitness.
But Irvine believes Berahino, who scored just three times after Boxing Day last season, can shoulder the goalscoring burden.
He said: “I certainly think he can be that frontman. He finishes well with either foot and he is one of the players we have got in mind to be one of our strikers.
“He has come in as a young player to a team where, people keep telling me, there were problems last year but all I have seen is a very mature lad who is a good professional.
“I have been delighted with him and I’m excited about the future. He can be a top player.”
Berahino, 21, is yet to play as a central striker with Irvine using him out wide due to Sebastian Blanco and and Silvestre Varela’s lack of fitness.
The summer signings could make their debuts this weekend and Irvine is relishing the chance to let Berahino loose in his favoured position.
“I think his best position is through the middle, he has got good movement and receives the ball well,” said Irvine, who spent over eight years at Everton as assistant manager and head of youth.
“He understands, when we don’t have the ball, where he should be and he has a real desire to work and continue to learn.
“The shame is we have had to play him a bit wider because we haven’t had alternatives. That’s something we’re getting closer to having and hopefully means we can play our players in the places they want to be.
“Full credit to the lads. They have played where they have been asked to and done it to the best of their ability.”
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