Cheeky Charlie Austin will inject energy into 'polite' West Brom dressing room
Cheeky Charlie Austin will help inject some noise into Albion’s ‘polite’ dressing room, according to Slaven Bilic.
The Baggies completed a £4million deal for the striker yesterday, and Bilic called it the ‘key signing’ of deadline day.
The Croatian, who picked the 30-year-old himself, had previously looked at signing Austin when he was in charge of West Ham.
Not only is Bilic confident Austin will score vital goals for the Baggies next season, he also believes his outspoken nature will benefit the rest of the squad.
This morning, members of the press were given a taste of Austin’s antics when he jokingly booed them on their way out of the training ground after Bilic’s pre-match press conference overran, holding up a team meeting.
“It’s nice to have it, especially in our group of players, who are very nice and very polite,” said Bilic. “I’m not saying he’s not, but he’s loud and good to have around.
“It was the key signing. We lost 45 goals between Dwight Gayle and Jay Rodriguez, and it’s impossible to buy that. You need luck and – I don’t know – £100milliong for that. We got Charlie and he’s a proven goalscorer, and a top player.”
Austin has suffered from injury problems in the past, but he was fit throughout last season and Bilic waved away those concerns saying any player was capable of suffering an injury at any time.
“He looks slim, he looks good, he’s hungry,” said Bilic. “Injuries are a different thing, there are no guarantees with anyone.
“He’s got a record with that but that was when he moved from QPR to Southampton.
“We have good medical staff and we want to look positive on every player. He passed the medical, he’s fit and we’re going to manage him but he likes to train and I don’t see any issues there.
“There is a danger with every player, with every player we signed, all those who are here. Charlie is no different in that aspect.”
Austin has been bought to replace the goals scored by Dwight Gayle and Jay Rodriguez last season, and in that respect, it’s a tough act to follow.
But Bilic stressed that the onus was on the team, rather than one individual, to win games for the Baggies.
He said: “Of course the pressure is on him because of his name and reputation and quality but I told him and I’ll say it again, it’s not only Charlie Austin who will score goals.
“We expect him to but we need to provide him with good balls, the pressure is on the whole team, it’s a team game, but we are really happy that we signed him.
“He’s got something to prove and he came to an ambitious club. He wants to win as many games as possible and score as many goals as he can.
“But his game is not only scoring goals, he also has a player who lifts up the team with his energy. I think he’s going to enjoy it with us.
“He’s that kind of guy, he wants to play, score goals, help the team, those guys always hungry.”