As per a special request from Bret Higgins, here is a scouting report on the latest goal scoring sensation, Charlie Austin of Burnley.
Charles Austin (Cost: N/A, Market Value: £2.2m)
23 years old; Left-footed striker
Strengths: Austin’s best trait is his surprisingly high work rate in the attack. Austin is a very active player moving around and trying to create problems for the defense. He can be hard to mark because of his quick acceleration and and above average speed. His size is also great: at 6’2″ he’s a prototypical striker with decent strength. Most of his goals come from the air where he is a dangerous header of the ball. Austin also has the poacher’s instinct as a clinical finisher.
Weaknesses: Austin is not graceful with the ball at his feet. He is a below average dribbler, making him almost no threat to beat defenders by himself. His first touch has been known to let him down as it can get loose at times. He’s not a great passer and lacks a creative spark to make his own goals. He does not score many goals from outside the box and his shooting skills reflect his inability to do so. In most areas of his game he is either average or slightly below average as his penalties and volleys have a lot of room for improvement.
Need to Knows: Austin has played as far down as the Hellenic Division I East League (10th level in the English Football League system), where he worked his way from the Wessex Premier League (9th level) to League One and now the Championship. Austin’s youth club was Reading, where he was released at 15 because he was too small. Austin worked as a bricklayer while playing for Poole Town in the WPL at the age of 19. Austin transferred to Burnley after handing in a transfer request to Swindon Town saying that he wanted to play at a higher level. He was sold to Ipswich Town but couldn’t agree on personal terms and ended up at Burnley for a fee believed to be around £1.2m. He has currently scored 20 goals in 19 games in all competitions this season.
Overall Rating (N/A): Austin is a fascinating player who worked his way up from obscurity to become a target of some big Premier League teams. He comes from the working class, a player with ambition and drive who has had to work for everything, and that’s very respectable. Even with all that he has accomplished, a lot of onlookers (including myself) see him as a bit overrated. He’s shown to be a class above in the Championship but it’s hard to see him succeeding at the top level. His story is similar to that of Jermaine Beckford, another player who fought his way up to the Premier League but ended up flopping at Everton. It’s hard to write off any player willing to work as hard as Austin and he could end up as a valuable squad player to a Premier League regular but he’s just not talented enough for any of the big boys.