I’m not going to tell you the ‘from bricklayer to Premier League’ story once again, you’ve all heard it to death. Charlie Austin has had a sensational breakthrough season in the top flight, and will be involved in his first ever England game this weekend. His exceptional rise through the leagues has been well documented, and no more so than Damian Meaden’s excellent article on the site very recently.
Not only have we heard it too many times before, but he deserves better than that. He deserves to be recognised for his superb season in the Premier League, and not just for getting there.
Wherever he’s been in his career he’s scored goals. In every division he has played in, he has banged them in every week, and many were certainly skeptical when QPR were promoted last season. Although being the clubs top scorer, a vast amount of people doubted whether the ex-Burnley striker could make the step up and continue his scoring form.
That he did, though. To bag 18 goals in his first ever appearance in the Premier League is something special, and maybe something which has gone under the radar with many people this season. When you look at Harry Kane’s rise – Austin’s hasn’t been too far different.
If Austin is to score on Sunday against Ireland, then his season has been very similar to the Spurs striker. Obviously, with QPR’s relegation, he is very much expected to leave Loftus Road. But where could he go?
He’s proved that he can do it in a side struggling badly at the wrong end of the table, and with some quality service then he could fit quite comfortably into a higher mid-table side. These ‘higher mid-table sides’ of such, have been linked constantly with the now-England international since Rangers’ relegation last month.
Tottenham, Newcastle, Southampton, Liverpool, Everton and even champions Chelsea have been linked with Austin recently and this vast amount of interest is testament to what has been a fantastic season for him.
If he is to make the short journey across West London, then his game time is going to be very limited. A possible replacement for the departing Drogba, Austin is likely to be the third or even fourth choice striker at the Bridge and the ex-Hungerford and Poole man would have gone from being the star of the team, to being a low-profile backup option.
So, a move to the Blues is unlikely, but a move to the North-East could well be on the cards. Following a less than mediocre season for the Magpies, they need a boost and Austin could provide this. He would symbolise a return to the good days in Tyneside and he could certainly be viewed as a typical Newcastle striker. They need to forget the Emmanuel Reviere’s of this world and turn to players like Austin, in an attempt to return to the days of Alan Shearer, for example.
Southampton may want Austin, as they look to improve on that position of the park also. A move closer to home for the striker, he was brought up on the south coast, and made his name in non-league playing for Poole Town. His father owns a construction company in Bournemouth, who Austin once worked for as a bricklayer (as we all know).
Austin partnered up top with Harry Kane could be a future pairing for the national team, but could also be a pairing for Tottenham Hotspur next campaign. Spurs have reportedly shown some interest in the forward, and I can certainly see Austin in the Lilywhites of North London.
Liverpool have a huge summer ahead of them, but a move for the QPR star is unlikely should ex-teammate Danny Ings make the move to Anfield. The blue side of Merseyside could also make an effort to sign Austin, but there is no concrete interest at the moment.
When you have a prolific goalscorer like Austin in the Premier League, he is always going to attract interest. He’s certainly not going to stay with the Hoops in the Championship, and he will not have a struggle trying to find a team to take him back to the big time.
Austin isn’t the type of player to take the ball on the halfway line, and nutmeg four players before chipping the keeper – he’s not that type of striker. He effectively is the new breed of poacher. Whereas the old style poacher was just there in the right place at the right time, Austin is strong, technically good and even possesses a good amount of pace.
But he still is a poacher. He’s always on the move in the penalty box, and it’s as if he just wants that goal more than the defender wants to keep it out.
He does seem to struggle when playing on his own up top though, and Bobby Zamora’s ‘battering ram’ style partnership with Austin this season has been important in all the goals he has put away.
If Austin is playing his trade in the North East or North London, the South Coast or Merseyside, you can guarantee that he will be scoring goals. Wherever he is, he’ll always see that net rustling in front of him. That’s just his thing.
Crystal Palace’s hopes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek return boosted after latest comments
The midfielder is unlikely to get what he’s after at his parent club.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek has boosted Crystal Palace‘s hopes of securing his services for another season, after claiming he will only remain with Chelsea this summer if guaranteed a regular first-team spot at Stamford Bridge next season, in quotes via Sky Sports.
The 22-year-old spent last season on loan at Selhurst Park after making just 31 appearances for Chelsea since his debut in 2014, and his immense talents have earned him a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad this World Cup.
“I want to play as much as I can,” revealed Loftus-Cheek. “Even this past season just gone, I didn’t play as much as I would have liked because of injuries. So I still feel I need a proper season of playing, wherever it is.”
Loftus-Cheek made 25 appearances for Roy Hodgson’s outfit last term, and is still unhappy with the amount of minutes he managed, so it’s pretty safe to assume Chelsea – given the disastrous domestic season they’ve just had – won’t be bettering his previous return, or be prioritising taking chances on academy products next season.
And Palace will be keen to offer the stylish midfielder a deal to extend his stay with the former England manager, where, if available, he will continue to be considered one of the first names on the team-sheet.
Palace are likely to face competition from rival clubs though, as Loftus-Cheek is emerging as a star on the biggest stage of all in Russia; having flourished in his brief cameo against Tunisia. And he’s now considered likely to start against Panama, with Dele Alli nursing a slight injury.
Aston Villa could reportedly owe John Terry £560,000 in wages
The owner may have to sell shares in the club.
Aston Villa’s financial mess looks likely to continue, as the cash-strapped club could now owe captain John Terry a whopping £560,000 in wages, unless he transfers to a different club this summer, according to reports from the Times.
Villa are said to have reached an agreement with HMRC to postpone a payment of £4 million last week, but a further payment is expected this week and the club owner Tony Xia may have to go as far as to sell shares in the club to ensure all debts are paid.
The ex-Chelsea legend announced his impending departure from the midlands club last month, after they failed to secure Premier League promotion in the play-offs and his current contract is due to expire at the end of the month. But he is said to be entitled to a further month’s pay.
His weekly-wage packet was said to be worth £70,000 at Villa Park, meaning the overdue payments from the last two-months add up to over half-a-million for the 37-year-old defender. However, the outstanding July payment will only stand if Terry retires or remains a free-agent, meaning Villa will be keen to land him a new club.
Villa reportedly need £40 million in order to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations (Birmingham Mail), after gambling that they would gain promotion to the Premier League this season.
England must start Marcus Rashford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek after Panama reveal tactics
England must opt for creativity after the Panama captain’s comments
Panama have revealed plans stifle England with a physical approach in their upcoming clash on Sunday, in quotes from captain Roman Torres on the Telegraph, and Gareth Southgate should ensure the Three Lions’ approach is suited to the style of opponent.
The Central Americans were beaten 3-0 by a star-studded Belgium outfit on Monday in their World Cup debut, meaning a win against England is pivotal in ensuring they remain in the competition beyond the group stages. And England will have a tough task taking the lion’s share of points on the day.
“England are a bit more direct than Belgium. They try to make use of the pace they have. We’ll need to be compact and limit their space,” revealed Torres told the Telegraph.
And as a result England must employ the right tactics. Creativity and bravery will be key, as they will undoubtedly have the majority of possession, and Southgate will want to make it count. Marcus Rashford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek added instant impetus to a languid outfit, after coming on late against Tunisia.
The team’s performance became full of purpose and directness in the last 20 minutes, with both taking the responsibility of carrying the ball forward and creating, and from that arrived the corner and subsequent winner from Harry Kane.
The end product from the likes of Rashford was missing in the opening stages of the game also, as team-mate Jesse Lingard squandered a number of key opportunities to put the game to bed early, and Southgate will not want a repeat this time around.