West Ham co-owner Sullivan clarifies Austin comments

QPR striker Charlie Austin attacked David Sullivan over his "outrageous slur", but the West Ham co-owner hit back via a statement.

West Ham co-owner David Sullivan insists his comments about QPR striker Charlie Austin have been taken out of context.

Sullivan caused a stir when he ruled out making a move for the England international due to concerns over his fitness and quality.

The 68-year-old Sullivan said: "[Austin] didn't keep Queens Park Rangers up. If he'd kept them up single-handedly you might say it was different - and a few of those goals were penalties. When we played Queens Park Rangers last year they had to win to stand any chance of staying up and he wasn't very good."

Austin responded angrily, lambasting Sullivan for making "misleading" comments about his physical condition.

The in-demand QPR frontman also criticised Sullivan over his "outrageous slur" that questioned his professionalism.

Sullivan hit back via his son Jack's Twitter account on Thursday, writing: "I'm sorry that Mr Austin has taken my comments out of context. He is a player I greatly admire. However, he failed a medical at Hull two years ago.

"Clearly an old injury left a severe doubt with the Hull medical team about the longevity of his career.

"I fully accept he is playing very well and the old injury is not impacting upon him at this moment in time.

"Any club who wanted to buy him would re medical him and take the advice of their medical team. Indeed the options of different medical experts might even vary."

"I was simply saying at West Ham United we've been very unlucky with injuries to strikers, going right back to Dean Ashton," he added.

"Three of our main four strikers are injured at this moment in time. So for us, with our limited budget, our bad luck over injured strikers and the fact he failed a medical at Hull would be a risk we couldn't take.

"However, I'm sure many other clubs would take a different view and I hope he plays on until he's 37 or 38 as he's clearly a super professional and a great player."