We’re delighted to welcome former West Brom striker Kevin Phillips as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at The Hawthorns…
Kevin Phillips would not be shocked to see Charlie Austin regularly find the back of the net at QPR after he left West Brom on loan last week.
Austin, 31, re-joined the West London club on loan for the rest of the season and managed to score on his second debut for the Rs as they beat Luton 2-0 on Tuesday night.
Ex-Albion striker Phillips admits he’s a big fan of the loaned-out West Brom man but claims that he’s probably at the right level in the Championship with QPR.
“I’ve always backed Charlie Austin. I don’t know what’s gone on behind the scenes or what influence he had in the dressing room but I think he’s always conducted himself well from what I’ve seen on the pitch,” Phillips told West Brom News.
“When he’s come on, he’s shown a good attitude like he did last season [against Birmingham] when he scored two goals for them off the bench. He’s always come on and done a job but he’s gone back to a club where’s done very well.
“There’s no surprise to me that he got on the scoresheet. I’m not going to disrespect him but I think the Championship, at his age, is the level that will suit him. It wouldn’t surprise me now if he goes on to score a hat full of goals.
“The question will be raised at West Brom then – ‘why did we let him go?’. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
“But for every party, especially for Charlie, he’ll be over the moon.”
Austin did play a role in West Brom winning promotion to the Premier League last season and ended up as the club’s top goalscorer in all competitions.
He was superb on numerous occasions when coming off the bench but there were big doubts about his overall fitness as he struggled to complete 90 minutes.
Hal Robson-Kanu was, rightly, chosen ahead of him to spearhead Slaven Bilic’s attack more often than not in the Championship and Albion were also right to upgrade their striker options in the summer by signing Karlan Grant from Huddersfield.
The jury is still out on Grant but we didn’t see much from Austin to suggest he was capable of performing in the Premier League.
As Phillips says, him leaving to return to QPR was best for all parties.
In other West Brom news, Albion have offered this key player a new £45,000-a-week contract.