Charlie Austin has been a revelation since joining QPR in August 2013; he moved from Burnley for a free believed to be £4million and has repaid Rangers by scoring 29 goals in just 47 league appearances. His 17 goal tally last season was a big help in QPR’s play-off triumph but it is this season’s performances that have caught the attention of the football world.
The 25-year-old has 12 goals in 16 Premier League appearances including a fantastic hat-trick against West Brom last Saturday. This puts him as the third highest scorer in the Premier League, behind only to world-class strikers Diego Costa and Sergio Aguero. The fact that he has scored over half of QPR’s league goals this season- 12 out of 21- proves how much of an influence and key man he has been this season, with England talk perhaps not so farfetched.
This season’s goal tally is no fluke to anyone who has watched Charlie Austin play over the years. But it has been a long journey to get to this level, as it was only five-years-ago he was playing for Poole Town at level nine of the English league system.
His first break came in 2009 when he joined League One Swindon Town, scoring 31 times in 54 matches. In 2011 he moved to the Championship with Burnley and became almost an instant hit. In his first full season at that level, he scored an impressive 16 times, followed up by 25 goals in the 2012/13 season. QPR snapped him up and he has been an excellent buy so far. His rise has been so fast, scoring goals almost immediately at every step up he has made.
Austin has many attributes that make him a top striker. He works extremely hard for the team, including tracking back to the defensive half of the pitch. He makes teasing and calculating runs which allows him to work well off of the second striker. The most impressive attribute is his eye for goal, including his finishing abilities. This makes him a natural goalscorer and someone who will always score goals at whatever level.
Composure in front of goal is excellent along with heading capabilities and long range efforts. He can score with some fantastic strikes or can poach the ball home. The ability to score anywhere in the final third makes him an extremely dangerous proposition to the opposing team and is a player who can play at an even higher level.
If he continues to score goals for QPR, then it might be hard for them to keep hold of Austin next summer. Natural goalscorers who are English are few and far between in today’s game which makes Austin a hot property. Whilst it would be hard to tell how well he could do playing at a higher level, he certainly has the ability and attributes to succeed.
There have been brief talks about a potential England call-up next year and if he keeps on firing, it would be hard to see why not. England are missing four top quality strikers in their squad and Austin will certainly provide another goalscoring option, should he be added in the future.
The potential is certainly there for all to see with Charlie Austin. At 25, he still has a number of years to continue improving and continue making natural progressions that could eventually see him playing at the very highest level.