Charlie Austin: Talentspotter

Burnley goal machine and former bricklayer Charlie Austin talks to FourFourTwo in March 2010, when he was a 20-year-old newly-turned pro plying his trade for Swindon Town.

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The lads at Swindon just call me Chaz or Chazza.

Team supported
Liverpool. My dad was a fan and always spoke to me about the likes of Rush, Dalglish and Keegan. I used to like Robbie Fowler when I was younger, although in terms of strikers, I always wanted to be Alan Shearer in the playground.

Running in behind defenders, using my pace and obviously scoring goals. I’ve always had this knack of getting into the right positions, whether it was for my school team or since I’ve stepped up to League football this season with Swindon Town. That’s something you can’t coach a player – it just happens.

My left foot, although since I turned pro I’ve had the benefit of training every day and being able to practise on my left foot more.

Turning pro this season, then scoring eight goals in eight games. My debut goal, at Carlisle, is my favourite. I didn’t even see it hit the net – as soon at it left my foot I knew it was in. I still have to pinch myself at what’s happened and when I see myself scoring on TV, or even turning up for training every day, it doesn’t sink in.

Not being taken on by Bournemouth last summer because of their transfer embargo. Having scored 48 goals in 43 games for Poole Town, I spent six weeks there and the manager wanted to sign me. When I was told the bad news I was devastated because I thought my chance at the pro game had gone. I thought I’d have to return to being a bricklayer, but then Swindon offered me a trial and things have progressed.

Toughest opponent
Lee Bradbury, in training at Bournemouth. He was a striker but these days plays as a left-back. Although he’s quite a big lad, he’s an experienced pro and has a good football brain. It was difficult to get the better of him.

Best player played with
I played in the same Newbury district team and the same county team as Theo Walcott. We played upfront together. I knew he had something in his locker, but never thought he’d go on to achieve what he has.

Biggest influence
My parents always told me to do my best every time I stepped onto the pitch because you never know who might be watching.

I like Kasabian, Snow Patrol and Oasis. I haven’t seen anyone live, although I did go to the Radio 1 Big Weekend in Swindon last summer.

Vauxhall Corsa.

I like Megan Fox.

Avatar. I got a bit fidgety towards the end because it lasts almost three hours but it’s a good film – an eight out of 10.

TV programmes
I like Soccer AM. When I saw my goals on there for the first time, I kept pausing it and playing it back.

Tell us something we don’t know about you
I was the under-13 tennis champion at the John O’Gaunt School in Hungerford. I never took it up seriously, though, as I was at Reading by then.

If I hadn’t been a footballer...
I’d still be a bricklayer. It was something I’d done since I left school but always had it in my head that I’d like to be a footballer.

Most embarrassing moment
Scoring an own goal for Hungerford in a top-of-the-table game against Almondsbury. I’d come back for a corner and shinned the ball into the back of the net. I also decided to put a red streak in my hair when I joined Swindon and quickly regretted it. I tried to dye my whole head black, but the lads rumbled me!

If I could play alongside any player...
Kaka. He would set me up a few chances, that’s for sure!

In five years' time...
I’ve no idea what will happen, but hopefully I’ll be playing at a higher level. People talk about this comparison with Simon Cox, but I don’t want to be known as the new Coxy – I want to be me.

Interview: Luke Nicoli. From the March 2010 edition of FourFourTwo.