AUSTIN POWERS Channon: Charlie’s got the old-school hunger... just feed him the ball!
MICK CHANNON believes ‘throw-back’ striker Charlie Austin can build Southampton a brighter future.
Saints legend Channon saw the south coast side put Everton to the sword last weekend with Austin scoring twice in six sizzling second-half minutes.
“They gave him the service, didn’t they?” said Channon, who scored 157 times in 391 league appearances during his initial spell at Southampton between 1966 and 1977.
“You give that boy the service and he will get goals.”
Channon (right) – one of Britain’s most successful racehorse trainers – wants to see more of the same when his beloved Saints go to Bournemouth today.
Channon said: “What Austin proved to me was that you need to forget all this tippy-tappy football between the defenders.
“They are the hod-carriers and it drives me mad seeing them just pass the ball to each other. It makes the game so slow. What’s the point?
“You want it to be quicker, played with more pace. They need to get it up to Charlie Austin – and when they get the delivery right, he shows what he can do.”
Channon is still idolised at Southampton, and has season tickets at St Mary’s Stadium. In two spells at the club, he scored 228 goals all told – and remains the Saints’ record scorer. He also got 21 goals for England in 46 appearances, and is hugely impressed by Austin. Channon added: “He is a throwback striker, like Mickey Quinn and Ted MacDougall.
“They come alive in the penalty area. But they need the ball.
“Austin showed against Everton what he can do.
“Yes, you can blame defenders for giving him the chances to head the ball home like he did. But Austin must take credit for the runs he made and the timing of them.
“I know he has had his injury problems and he has only recently been fit. But he showed what an asset he can be. He is a bit like Rickie Lambert a few years ago.
“Outside the area, he doesn’t do that much. But in the area is where he does his job. Lambert got goals – and Austin will get goals.”
Channon has sympathy for Italian striker Manolo Gabbiadini who has scored just seven times in 23 league matches for the Saints.
“Strikers need the ball up to them, and up to them quickly. That has not been happening,” said Channon. “I feel for him a bit because of that.”
Channon is hoping a high-tempo approach, so effective against Everton, will be replicated against Bournemouth.
He said: “They are a good team who like to get people forward. It could be a really decent match.” But Austin holds the key. “I like his way of going about things,” said Channon. “He is no-nonsense. He has come up the hard way, through the ranks. He has desire, you can see that.
“He was a labourer on a building site and now he is playing in the Premier League.
“I just want the hod carriers behind him to get him the ball.
“He is the brickie now, not the labourer.” » Bournemouth have just one win in their last nine league meetings with Southampton (W1 D2 L6). » There hasn’t been a draw in the last eight league clashes between these sides at the Vitality Stadium.
POINTS TO MAKE Charlie Austin is putting his injury woes behind him