West Brom vs Manchester United: Alan Irvine backs Saido Berahino for imminent England call-up after top-class performance

Berahino scored to put West Brom 2-1 up but they were unable to hold on after Daley Blind struck late

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The Independent Online

West Brom head coach Alan Irvine believes Saido Berahino can net a senior England call-up after his starring show against Manchester United.

The Under-21 international netted his seventh goal of the season in all competitions in Monday's 2-2 draw and is the Barclays Premier League's top English scorer with six.

Berahino gave £16million defender Marcos Rojo a difficult night to enhance his growing reputation as his dream campaign continued.

And Irvine believes the 21-year-old has put himself in pole position to net a call up next month.

"If he scores goals every week then he has a great chance (of a senior call) but Roy (Hodgson) will decide when is the right time for him," he said.

 

"He is in great form. He deserves what he is getting, his application has been really top class. He's behaving like a top professional day after day.

"He's got great potential. It's important he keeps on doing what he's doing at the moment. I've had a couple of chats with him and just said to him he's going absolutely in the right direction as far as he's concerned and we're concerned.

"What happens in the future I don't know but what is for sure is if he keeps on working as he's doing and behaving as he does in a professional manner he will continue to improve and exciting things will happen for him ."

Berahino's goal was cancelled out by Daley Blind's 87th minute leveller which salvaged a point for United.

Marouane Fellaini's first goal for the Red Devils had made it 1-1 after Stephane Sessegnon's fine first-half opener.

The Baggies had been left red faced after a tweet which appeared to make fun of the midfielder.

Their official account had tweeted: "Fellaini has now taken his tracksuit off, fortunately he has a Man Utd strip on underneath."

It was retweeted 18,000 times and Albion moved to clarify the context in a message after the game.

"Sorry if a joke about a footballer not having a shirt on under his tracksuit top has caused such outrage. It was not intended as a slur," they wrote.

Irvine felt Joleon Lescott had been fouled by the Belgium international in the build-up to the goal but marvelled at his finish.

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Saido Berahino celebrates after scoring against United

He said: "I looked straight away at Mike Dean to see if he was going to give a foul because there's no doubt he bumped Joleon while the ball was in flight. The fact I looked at him indicates I thought it might have been a foul but he didn't give it and we just have to accept that it didn't happen. It was a fantastic finish."

The point lifted Albion to 14th but left United 10 points behind Chelsea, ahead of their showdown with Jose Mourinho's side on Sunday.

Louis van Gaal believes they can still catch the Blues though.

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Fellaini celebrates his goal

He said: "That's possible but difficult too say because then I am arrogant. But I have done it a lot of times.

"Now we have to play Chelsea but, you cannot compare West Brom with great respect.

"It was fantastic to play here, the stadium and pitch fantastic, they a play possession game so I have great respect for them.

"I think Chelsea and Man City are another level though. We have to see if we can beat them."

PA

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