Image from: essentiallysports.com
QPR's 25 year old England striker Charlie Austin, is the subject of some of the biggest transfer rumours of this transfer window. Last season's highest scoring English player in the Premier League, with 18 goals for an Rs' team that were truly awful, is in big demand. All a far cry from the early days with Hungerford Town and Poole!
A big burly forward in the mould of Alan Shearer, like Shearer he has more ability than he is given credit for. It is easy to just see him throwing his weight around up front and dismiss as an old school target man, who offers nothing but an ability to bully defenders and head the ball, but he is more than that.
Danny Ings' predecessor as Burnley's striker is a player with a good touch, enabling him to use his strength to shield the ball and bring others into play. Added to his ability to be in the right place to finish off moves, it adds up to a player that is very much deserving of his place in the top flight.
Of course, that is not ideal for QPR, following their relegation from the top flight last season, so it is likely, not withstanding any issues with medicals such as have scuppered moves in the past, that Austin will be on the move this summer.
As you can see from that video of his 20 goals in QPR's promotion winning season of 2013/14 Austin is capable of different types of goals. He is brave enough to put his head in where it hurts, good in the air, has a nice touch, good composure in the box, an accomplished penalty taker and can hit a powerful long range shot.
Reminiscent of Shearer as I said, even to the point of lacking out and out pace, which was probably Shearer's biggest weakness as well. It does make you wonder how much Swindon Town now regret selling him to Burnley?
He does need to get more involved in the build up play, to really reach the top level of the game, to be more than just a player to finish off moves, or to his a ball up to when under pressure. If he can add that, then he could lead England's line for 5 years or more, as his finishing is among the best England have to offer.
Austin is not going to beat ten players on a mazy dribble, he is an old fashioned centre forward, with the touch to enable himself to hit the target more often than not and the composure to avoid panicky sliced shots when there is time to bring it down. He is also a useful presence in his own penalty box to defend set pieces, with his height and aerial ability.
Charlie Austin still has the hunger of the latecomer to professional football that stood Ian Wright in such good stead in his career, if he can hang on to that, keep his nose clean and avoid injuries, he can easily play for ten years in the Prem. He will need a good supply from widemen to ensure he gets the chances, as, like all centre forwards, he is extremely reliant on the service he gets.
When you watch him, you can understand why his team mates back in his non-league days put money on him playing for England one day, he really did stand out a mile as too good for that level. He has handled each step up in class with not even a stutter in his step. Now he just needs to establish himself, prove that last season was his level and that he is not another one season wonder.
Written by Tris Burke
To comment on this profile, please log in