One to Watch #41: Charlie Austin

Last updated : 07 April 2010 By Dan Buxton


Name: Charlie Austin

Date of Birth: 5th July 1989

Position: Striker

Club: Swindon

Previous Clubs: Reading, Thatcham Town, Kintbury Rangers, Hungerford Town, Poole Town

Austin has gone from bricky to one of the hottest talenst outside the top flight in just four months after an amazing run of form since breaking into league football in October 2009.

Austin started out at Reading where he played for five years before a serious knee injury left him with a long lay off and he was released from the Madjeski Stadium. By the time he recovered he was out in the footballing wilderness and he thought his dream was over.

A career in bricklaying beckoned and he had successful spells at local clubs Thatcham Town and Kintbury Rangers before, when his family moved to Bournemouth, a move into semi-pro football with Hungerford Town.

He continued his goal a game record through a season with Hungerford but then made the step up to Poole Town and he subsequently bagged 46 goals in 46 games for the non league side.

That form continued into this season and he netted an incredible 18 in 10 games, including five in his final appearance away at Moneyfields, before a £50,000 move to Swindon followed after he impressed on trial. He would have joined Bournemouth, having had a successful trial at Deans Court in pre-season, but a transfer embargo meant the south coast side were unable to register the hitman and missed out on his signature.

The step up failed to stop the striker and it took him next to no time to break into the first team. After signing a 7 month deal on October 2nd he made his debut four days later in the 1-1 draw with Exeter in the Johnstone Paints Trophy, coming on as an 88th minute sub. He had to wait  a little longer for a league debut but a brace on his reserves debut, a 3-2 win over Plymouth on October 20th, saw him promoted to the first team squad for the away game at Norwich four days later. He came on as a sub in the 70th minute for his league debut and a full debut followed on November 21st, away at Carlisle and a first goal came just three minutes in, a goal that won the game 1-0.

The goals haven't stopped since and Austin already has 18 goals for Swindon, despite playing only 24 games. He signed a new deal for the next two and a half years amid interest from several top flight and Premier League clubs ahead of the January transfer window whilst England U21 coach Stuart Pearce is known to be a big admirer and Austin is expected to be in the Three Lions U21 squad soon.

In an interview last month with The Guardian he showed he still has his feet on the floor, talking of the amazing feeling of going from bricky to possible England star so quickly and how he respects the perks of being a professional, including not having to do an 8 hour shift before a game. One quote was the following "One day, when I was 17, I was working in a place called Overton," he recalls. "By 2pm we were drenched through and it felt like I had a glass back. I couldn't bend it and I was covered in mud. If I ever get fed up for one minute with football, I'll think back to that day and remember I've got the best life in the world now."