Southampton new boy Charlie Austin pays little attention to his critics but believes he deserved more credit for his achievements at QPR.
Austin wrote another chapter in his journey from bricklayer to Premier League star on Saturday when he scored the winner on debut for Saints at Manchester United.
Just seven days after signing from QPR in a £4million deal, the 26-year-old powered home James Ward-Prowse’s free-kick in the 87th minute to seal Saints’ second successive win at Old Trafford.
Austin was a big hit at Rangers, scoring 18 goals in his maiden Premier League campaign, which led to an England call-up.
Then, all of a sudden, interest in the frontman started to dry up. No top-flight club saw fit to meet QPR’s £15million asking price and Austin started the season playing away to Charlton, rather than Chelsea.
And then came David Sullivan’s claim that West Ham would not sign the player because he had heard the player had “no ligaments” in his right knee. Sullivan later apologised for the comment after Austin threatened legal action, branding the claims of the Hammers co-chairman as an “outrageous slur”.
“Everybody has got their opinion and they are entitled to their opinion. I just do what I can do and that’s that,” Austin said when reminded of the criticism he had received.
“I just let people do the talking. I do what I can and I can only control the controllables and coming on the pitch and scoring the winner is something I can control.
“Times change, but that’s behind me now and I’m all about concentrating on Southampton and playing in the Premier League because this is where I want to be.”
When asked why no other club had made a serious bid to sign him this month after QPR’s asking price dropped to £4million, Austin said: “I don’t know whether I was credited enough for what I did at QPR.
“Maybe that was just it, but now I have come to a club like Southampton they are only going one way and I want to be part of that journey.”
Sullivan had tried to cast doubt on Austin’s credentials by pointing out that “a few” (three) of the striker’s 18 goals came from the penalty spot during his maiden season in the Premier League.
The forward insists he never doubted his ability to perform at the very top of the game, however.
“I always back myself to score, wherever I go,” he said.
“For any striker moving in January is tough and to get that first goal is very important so I’m just delighted to get it so early on.
“Whenever I come on the pitch I always try to score and luckily enough the chance came to me and I was delighted to put it away,” the 26-year-old said. “It’s crazy, I know.”
Austin is refusing to start contemplating whether he can make a late surge into the England squad again.
“The Euros are at the back of my mind,” he said.
“If it happens, it happens, but at the moment I just want to continue performing for Southampton.”