Queens Park Ranger’s striker Charlie Austin has made a habit of demolishing Premier League defences this season, yet only six years ago he was building walls not trying to ‘beat them’.
Austin aged 25, who has netted 14 times already this season which is no mean feat in a struggling Rangers side, started his football career as a semi-professional and in those days supplemented his income by working for his dad’s building firm.
“I used to get up at six and drive for an hour in my blue van from Bournemouth to Basingstoke – they were the tough days,” he explains.
“Especially as the winter came, you had the wet and the cold and the snow and the hail.
“My dad would let me leave work an hour early if I had a game. I’d drive back an hour to Bournemouth, get my bag ready and be off to the game for a half six meet – so on a Tuesday it was a rush.
“All my kit was in the back of the blue van, covered in cement.”
Life is very different these days as the striker explains ‘The only blisters I have on my hands these days are from the gym. Laying bricks was about five or six years ago now.’
‘I have scored 100-odd career goals now,’ Austin told The Sun, ‘and think I have done enough to be considered a player rather than a builder who plays football. I know where I have come from but I feel like I have done enough to be known as a footballer now.
Released by Reading as a 14 year old, Austin has certainly made it to the top the hard way from stints with non-league sides Kintbury Rangers, Hungerford Town and Poole Town before breaking into the football league with Swindon Town.
So from being ‘on the tools’ Austin has now ‘cemented’ his place as a top-flight goal scorer and can be seen ‘mixing it’ on a regular basis with the Premier League big boys.
Did you ever work with Charlie in his younger days or know of any other footballers that used to be ‘on the tools’, let us know below…