West Brom manager Steve Clarke impressed by Saido Berahino after 36 minute hat-trick in Capital One Cup
The Premier League side beat Newport County to progress
Wednesday 28 August 2013
West Brom boss Steve Clarke admits Saido Berahino has given him “a lot to think about” after seizing his chance with a 36-minute hat-trick on his full debut against Newport County.
Steve Clarke's side eased into the third round of the Capital One Cup with a professional 3-0 win made more eye-catching by the Burundi-born winger's stellar contribution.
The 20-year-old academy product, who left the war-ravaged African state with his family as a 10-year-old, was by far and away his side's stand-out performer as he took the game to the Welsh side from the first minute to effectively wrap up the win before the half-time whistle had even blown.
Clarke said of Berahino, who was included in Gareth Southgate's England Under-21 squad for their forthcoming qualifiers: "He's a born goalscorer and he's hungry to do well.
"He can play in any position in the front three, either in the middle or on either side. For us in this moment in time he is very useful.
"I'm absolutely delighted for the boy because he's worked so hard for his chance and he took it with both hands.
"You saw his performance here. In the first half he was the best player on the pitch. He tired a bit in the second half - as did a few others who haven't had much playing time recently.
"But he's given me a lot to think about and I'm really pleased he has."
Summer signing Scott Sinclair was one of five full debutants for Albion while third-choice goalkeeper Luke Daniels stood in for Ben Foster after he suffered a stress fracture in his foot.
Also making their first Albion starts were defender Diego Lugano and striker Matej Vydra.
Berahino put his side ahead just six minutes in after Sinclair and Vydra combined well.
He doubled his tally 20 minutes later with a lovely drive from the right of the box which left Newport goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley with no chance.
And he completed the hat-trick from the penalty spot to put the game out of the reach of the Football League newcomers before the half was over.
Newport manager Justin Edinburgh was justifiably upbeat about his side's performance.
"I think we were a bit disappointed to come off 3-0 down at half-time," said the former Tottenham player.
"We started brightly and found good rhythm but I think we knew we had come up against Premier League class. They're so clinical, they had three shots on target and three goals.
"I'm a proud man. I thought the players acquitted themselves well right to the end and the fans were excellent too, as the game wore on they got louder.
"We had nothing to lose and all to gain but we take a lot of credit out of tonight. We've not done ourselves any harm, that's for sure."
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