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Is time right for West Brom star to make international step?

| 30.09.2014

It’s been a familiar start to the season for West Brom striker Saido Berahino, whose double strike against Burnley at the weekend took his tally to five goals from his first eight appearances in all competitions.

After his first eight outings last term, the Burundi-born forward had notched the exact same number of goals, only on that occasion links to an England call-up weren’t as fierce.

Now, there’s genuine speculation that the 21-year-old can edge his way into Roy Hodgson’s playing party for the European Championship qualifiers against San Marino and Estonia.

Neither of those opponents are expected to trouble the Three Lions, so it could be the perfect time to expose a young talent to the senior squad.

Not only are the opposition favourable, but England’s striking personnel isn’t at its best either.

Daniel Sturridge is out injured, but is expected to be working back to full fitness when the England games arrive, while Danny Welbeck is still adjusting to life as an Arsenal player.

Berahino, then, could well be in line to make his first senior squad and certainly has impressive figures to add weight to his cause.

When he’s given the opportunity to start, he often scores. He has 14 goals from 22 starts in the midlands, while the seven strikes he’s bagged in nine U21 games for England is an even more impressive tally.

What’s more, Hodgson’s selection policy these days seems based more on recent form than forged reputation, with Calum Chambers and Fabian Delph two of the latest beneficiaries of that method.

Should the Baggies’ academy product keep scoring at his current rate, Hodgson will have little choice but to include Berahino – whose next chance to impress comes as part of the 7/1 underdogs’ squad to face Liverpool.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.