Charles Austin (born 5 July 1989) is an English professional footballer who plays as a forward for Championship club West Bromwich Albion. Released from his contract by Reading as a youth, Austin played non-league football up to May 2009, when he was signed by Swindon Town after a prolific season for Poole Town. After scoring 58 goals in 113 matches in the Football League Championship for Burnley and Queens Park Rangers, Austin made his debut in the Premier League during the 2014–15 season, scoring 18 goals for relegated QPR and receiving a call-up for the England national team. He returned to the Premier League in January 2016 when he signed for Southampton, scoring on his debut.
Born in Hungerford, Berkshire, Austin trained with Reading's youth teams as a youngster but was released for being too small when he was 15. He subsequently played for local team Kintbury Rangers and his hometown side Hungerford Town. Austin departed Hungerford in 2008 and was briefly on the books of Thatcham Town but ultimately left without making any appearances for the club.
Moving with his family to Bournemouth, he then switched to nearby semi-professional Wessex League Premier Division team Poole Town while also working as a bricklayer. In the season of 2008–09, Austin scored 46 goals in 46 appearances for Poole in all competitions.
Austin spent the pre-season of the 2009–10 season on trial with League Two club Bournemouth. Although Bournemouth's manager, Eddie Howe, was keen to sign the striker on a permanent deal, Bournemouth were unable to make a move for the striker due to a transfer embargo imposed on the club by the Football League. Austin continued to play for Poole Town, scoring 18 goals in 11 games at the beginning of the season.
On 16 January 2016, Austin returned to the Premier League, joining Southampton on a four-and-a-half-year deal for a reported fee of £4 million. He made his debut for the club a week later against Manchester United, coming on as a second-half substitute for Sadio Mané, and scored a late winner, turning in a free-kick from James Ward-Prowse.
Austin and his long-term partner Bianca Parker have a daughter, born in August 2012.
Austin was found guilty of assault in 2013 after he punched a man who had accused him of taking drugs in a Swindon nightclub toilet cubicle. He was fined £1,800 and ordered to pay £1,320 in costs.
On 21 May 2015, Austin was called up for the first time to the England national football team for a friendly match against the Republic of Ireland and a UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying match against Slovenia. He and Leicester City forward Jamie Vardy were called up due to several other forwards being involved in the European Under-21 Championship, but Austin did not feature in either match.
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