Midfield has been a problematic area for Wigan Athletic this season. It has been missing the strong physical presence that is necessary at Championship level. Moreover the pace of play has too often been pedestrian, lacking the sort of midfield player who will run at the opposition defence.
Reports suggest that Latics are about to secure the services of Rudy Austin from Leeds United. Could he provide the kind of balance that the midfield has needed?
The 29 year old Rodolph Austin started his football career in his home country Jamaica. He played for Portmore United, based in the suburbs of Kingston. During his time there United won two league titles and the Caribbean Football Union Cup.
In the summer of 2008 he went to Bergen in Norway to play for Brann, well known to Latics supporters through Paul Scharner’s sojourn there. Austin’s most successful year there was in 2011 when he won the award of best player in the Tippelegaen (Norwegian Premier League). During his three years in Bergen, Austin made 90 appearances, scoring 15 goals. He moved to Leeds United in July 2012, where he has since made 91 appearances, scoring 7 goals.
Austin has made 71 appearances for Jamaica, scoring 7 goals.
In order to find out more about Austin’s time at Leeds we reached out to Adam of the Marching on Together site forum (@motforum).
Here’s over to Adam:
Rodolph Austin, Jamaican Warrior, signed to great fanfare from Brann by Neil Warnock in 2012 was something of a cult hero before he made his debut with fans having seen exploits of his powerful running, tough tackling and accurate passing on YouTube.
He has never really lived up to that potential however, perhaps mainly due to the position he has been played in. His stature and tough tacking have usually meant managers have marked him out as a defensive or holding midfielder but he has never really looked comfortable there, his positional sense really isn’t good enough for that role. He was made captain in 2013, you would think he was the ideal man to get players going but in reality he is a quiet man and he stepped down from the job in January 2014.
The best of Rudy Austin really comes when he plays in a more advanced role and is given licence to get forward. It’s a position that Neil Redfearn has played him in during recent matches and having been out of the side for a while he has been a revelation. Once he gets on the ball and starts running up the pitch at speed there really is no stopping him, he is like a juggernaut leaving opposition defenders in his wake. He’s also better when he keeps things simple, that old YouTube video may have shown wonderful long cross field passes but he’s equally likely to hit the ball into tough. Equally with his shooting, he loves a long range strike but rarely sees them hit the target.
If you want to see Austin at his best check out the highlights of our last game against Bournemouth; strong forward runs and simple short passes. If you look at him and expect him to be a great, tough tackling, holding midfielder you’ll be disappointed. If you give him some freedom to get forward you’ll get the best out of him. He is certainly not the most cultured of footballers but he’s honest and a hard worker. Had he been rumoured to move on earlier in the season I wouldn’t have been bothered but given his performances in the last few games I’d be little disappointed if he left.