Arnautovic could be answer to Austria problems

VIENNA, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Austria have had little to enjoy in the last few years but temperamental striker Marko Arnautovic's two-goal performance against Azerbaijan suggested he could change that if he stays on the straight and narrow.

The lanky 21-year-old was making his sixth international appearance but not been picked since the World Cup qualifying win over Romania in April 2009 - coach Didi Constantini's first match in charge.

Since then, Arnautovic has endured a problematic season at Inter Milan but appears to have come good after moving to Werder Bremen, despite more problems in settling in.

His recent run persuaded Constantini to give him another try and the move paid off as Arnautovic scored two second-half goals in Friday's 3-0 win to leave Austria with six points from their opening two games in Group A.

In doing so, he provided some much-needed optimism for Austria who failed to qualify for the last two World Cups and were knocked out in the group stage when they co-hosted Euro 2008 with Switzerland.

Arnautovic has split opinion right from the outset.

Even as a teenager, he was criticised as being individualistic and had trials at three Austrian clubs before being signed up by Dutch first division club Twente Enschede.

Last month, Austrian team-mate Stefan Maierhofer publicly criticised his off-field attitude in a newspaper interview.

But his talent has also been recognised with former Austria international Andreas Herzog telling Der Standard in March that he had the potential to become Austria's best player in the last 30 years, leaving even Hans Krankl in the shadows.

Even so, his team mates were cautious in their praise of him after Friday's game.

"He has his moods, but he is certainly valuable for the team," Maierhofer told Austrian media.

Defender Sebastian Proedl, Arnautivoc's team-mate at Werder Bremen, added: "His goals were well taken, but defensively he must support us more.

"Against Azerbaijan he did well but against (group opponents) Germany, Turkey and Belgium, he must work defensively as well.

"We have seen that he can help us but the fact is that he could help us even more."