West Brom striker Charlie Austin says Southampton showed him a lack of respect in the summer after making him train with the U23s.
The 30-year-old striker when he was left out of Saints’ pre-season tour and forced to train with kids, which ultimately forced him out of the club on deadline day.
Austin, who did not name Saints boss Ralph Hassenhuttl personally, has slammed the south-coast club over his treatment in the summer and has revealed he had to leave in a £4m move to West Brom to get his career back on track.
Asked whether he was hurt? Austin told Sky Sports News. “Of course I was. I am 30 years old. I felt like I needed to be treated with respect.
“It is easy to say the club has got to do this and that and they have got to look after themselves. Then you wonder why players sit back and go ‘this is fine with me, if you are going to treat me like that [then] no problem.
“The other side is the outside world think [the player] gets this and gets that money and they should… [But] sometimes the club has got to look at it and go, ‘you have given him this, it is not their problem’. This is your problem. This is on you.
“Sometimes you have got to hold your hands up and say that is up to you. I look in the mirror and can say I did nothing wrong.
“For six weeks at Southampton I trained with the U23s, with [coach] Radhi Jaïdi, gave them no trouble and trained with them every single day and that was it.
“But I see it as that door is shut and this door is open. I am part of a club now that has the same feel as the club I was at before Southampton [in QPR] when they were on the rise up. I certainly feel as if this club is going to get back to where it needs to be.”
Austin, who scored 20 goals in 81 games during his three-and-a-half-year stay at St Mary’s, says the club denied him a pre-season.
Auston added: “I never had a pre-season. That was nothing to do with me, that was the way that club wanted to go down,” Austin, who suffered from a shoulder and a hamstring injury during the last two years, said.
“I have come here and feel now I am in a position where I am ready to go now. I have used the last six weeks and all the games as my pre-season games as such and the manager was good for me.
“He understood that and said, ‘there is no pressure on you to do anything’. [He said] I need you to score goals, I want you to score goals for the team but that will come. At the moment let’s get you fit and I feel like he has done that perfectly for me.”
The forward played his first 90 minutes of the season against Fulham earlier this month – his first full game since Southampton’s win against Swansea in May 2018.
“Sometimes you have got to take one step back to take two forward and I certainly see it as that,” added Austin.
“I spoke to the manager and he told me everything that was going on, it was clear enough. I didn’t make the decision really until quarter past one of Deadline Day morning.
“I left my home at five, half five and done all the stuff on transfer Deadline Day. It wasn’t one where I discussed too much. I went through the pros and cons with my agent and my family.
“In the end I spoke to the manager right near the end and said ‘let’s get this done’ and see how we go from there.”