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Thursday 14 December 2017

Pulis hopes Fletcher can be father-figure to Berahino

West Bromwich Albion's new signing Darren Fletcher
West Bromwich Albion's new signing Darren Fletcher

Saido Berahino lacks the right influences in his life to make the best decisions for his career, according to Tony Pulis.

The West Brom boss was unhappy with an interview Berahino gave this week expressing his wish to move on to bigger things and the striker found himself on the bench for yesterday's Premier League clash at Burnley.

Pulis insisted it was for football reasons, but Berahino played all but the first 18 minutes of the 2-2 draw anyway after Victor Anichebe was forced off with a groin injury. It is far from the first time Berahino has found himself the subject of unwanted headlines and there have been reports West Brom are willing to cash in on their biggest asset in the summer.

Pulis said: "I felt he could do with a little bit of a rest with two massive games at home coming up. Victor had done okay in the games we played previously. Unfortunately Victor felt his groin before the game. He wanted to play. After 15 minutes you could tell he was struggling and Saido came on and showed his attitude.

"Saido is a top player. The problem is he lost his father at an early age and he has not had many mentors or people who can put him on the straight and narrow. That happens a lot today. A lot of kids today get misguided advice. There is a lot of money thrown around in football and these kids can provide a lot of money to a lot of people."

Pulis hopes new signing Darren Fletcher can be a guiding hand for 21-year-old Berahino, who was called up to the full England squad earlier this season.

Fletcher arrived from Manchester United on Monday and was made captain for his first game, taking the armband from Chris Brunt. "Brunty is happy to give Darren the captaincy and concentrate on his football," said Pulis. "I felt Darren was what we needed in the dressing room. We needed a leader and he has been wonderful."

Burnley were full value for the two-goal lead given to them by Ashley Barnes and Danny Ings, but a header from Brunt just before half-time changed the game.

Substitute Brown Ideye then equalised from another corner in the 67th minute to ensure West Brom stayed two points ahead of one of their fellow relegation battlers.

Pulis said: "We started as though it was a Sunday morning stroll. Half of them looked as though they were still in bed. They deserved to be 2-0 up. The saving grace was the goal just before half-time."

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