West Bromwich Albion striker Charlie Austin has revealed that a personal chat with Slaven Bilic convinced him to join the Baggies from Southampton before the summer transfer deadline. Austin had spent the past three-and-a-half years with the Saints but he chose to pursue a fresh challenge elsewhere after falling out-of-favour under Ralph Hasenhuttl.
In an interview with the Last Word Podcast, Austin talked about the Bilic phone call and said that he was convinced by the approach from the former West Ham United boss, he told: “He said ‘Charlie how are you? We scored so many goals last year, so many balls in the box. I’m not going to change anything about you, I want you to come here, be my number nine and score me loads of goals like you have done in your career. He said ‘I’ll get the service from the lads to you, and we’re going to have a good season together. I must’ve been on the phone two minutes and I put the phone down and said to my wife – ‘I’m going to do it’. do it, are we not?”
Austin has received limited gametime since the start of the season due to match fitness concerns and he had to wait until last weekend to find the net for the club. The Baggies have had the tendency to concede the opening goal this season and over the weekend, it was the eighth occasion from 11 matches that they had gone behind.
Nonetheless, they came up with a comfortable 4-2 win over Cardiff City at home and they are now at the top of the league with a slightly better goal difference than Nottingham Forest. After the international break, they have an away game at Middlesbrough and they have a good chance to capitalise on their opponents, who have made a poor start to the season. Boro are presently two points adrift of the relegation zone.