This weekend Southampton announced the signing of striker Charlie Austin, from QPR. It’s no secret that Austin sent shockwaves, across the Premier League last season after scoring 18 goals, proving what a good player he is, whilst earning himself an England call up at the same time. Austin epitomises the phrase “Goalscorer” whilst he record speaks for itself, it must be recognised that Austin has been playing in a team that’s struggled in recent years, and has still found ways of consistently sticking the ball in the back of the net.
Many have compared the Austin signing to the signing of Rickie Lambert, due to the similar Non-League backgrounds theyshare, the fact they both started fairly late in terms of their footballing careers, as well as there humble second jobs, with Austin working as a bricklayer and Lambert famously working in a beetroot factory.
In a deal that seemed to suit all parties involved, can Austin be the catalyst that helps ignite Southampton’s, so-far, underwhelming season? We sat down with Jack from QPR fansite “The Blue and The White” to discuss Southampton’s signing of Charlie Austin.
OWTS: It’s no secret that Hull City rejected Austin after failing a medical ahead of a proposed move to the club. How’s his injury record been with QPR and in particular have there been issues with the right knee. Should that be a worry for Saints fans?
TBATW: Not in terms of the knee he failed his medical for. Charlie had 3 months out with a shoulder problem in his first season but that’s been it. Gets the odd muscular injury but no more often than normal.
OWTS: Austin has a built up a reputation as a “goalscorer” with the clubs he’s been at, but is there more to his game?
TBATW: He’s a hard working player on and off the ball. I’ve never seen his head drop whilst at QPR. His build up play has massively improved since he joined and he’s become an all round striker rather than just a finisher since he signed.
OWTS: Did he particularly stand out in the QPR team in the three seasons he was there? Was he too good for QPR?
TBATW: Charlie Austin has carried the team in every season. We would never have got promoted without him in 2014 and would have been relegated by Christmas last year without him. He’s honestly the best player we’ve seen at QPR since Les Ferdinand.
OWTS: He’s already spoken about looking to rekindle the partnership with Jay Rodriguez the pair built up during the single season they shared together at Burnley, scoring 38 goals between them, but is he better up top on his own or with a partner?
TBATW: it’s a hard call. Austin scores goals whatever formation you play but he worked really well with Zamora in the past few seasons. Plays better when someone is there to hold the ball up for him, which is unusual because you would think of Austin as the hold up player himself i’d imagine he’d work well with Graziano Pelle.
OWTS: What’s his biggest strength and his biggest weakness?
TBATW: In my opinion, his biggest strength is his positioning. He always manages to be in the right place right time. His ability to do that makes it so much easier for him to finish chances. in terms of his biggest weakness, it’s probably his weak foot, he definitely isn’t a two footed player.
OWTS:Obviously there’s been a lot of speculation surrounding Austin, did it come as a surprise to see him join Saints in January though?
TBATW: There was always speculation, but I reckoned it would be Saints or Palace that signed him. He wants to start games and wants consistent PL football which narrows it down to around 5/6 teams. His family are all based in Bournemouth as well. But I thought he would see out his contact until summer to be honest.
OWTS: Were you disappointed, that he didn’t stay until his contract was up in the summer?
TBATW: I’m surprised he didn’t, but no QPR fan would blame him for leaving us because we’re all aware of how badly QPR is run and the lack of direction it has. Every QPR fan adored Charlie so it did feel heartbreaking seeing him leave – we always knew he was far too good for us though.
OWTS: Finally, how as a QPR fan do you view Southampton, as a football club, at the moment?
TBATW: In the past few years nothing but jealousy of how your club’s been run to be honest. We’re run by a group of clueless directors and owners throwing money at anything and never having any long term plan whilst your a club that produces youth talent, buys sensibly, has a stable position in the PL and subsequently a bright future.