Austin: I feel great

By SFC Media Mon 21 Aug Saints v West Ham
Photo by Matt Watson

Southampton striker Charlie Austin says he feels fit and strong, as he looks to build on his opening goal of the season.

Austin netted a last-gasp penalty to give Saints a 3-2 home win over West Ham United on Saturday, coolly sending Joe Hart the wrong way to cap a dramatic afternoon at St Mary's.

Having missed almost all of the second half of last season through a shoulder injury, the 28-year-old is hoping he can continue the sort of form he showed in the first half of the 2016/17 campaign.

"I want to stay fit this season, play as many games as I can and try to score as many goals as I can, and that's the main aim for me," he said.

"I felt fit last year, I felt strong and I was flying. I was playing the best football of my career last year, up until I got injured, and that was a silly accident that happened, and that's part and parcel of football.

"I feel fit, I feel strong again and I'm just battling for the team, and trying to get involved in the team as much as possible, and help produce as many good performances and winners as I can."

Since returning to fitness at the back end of last season, Austin has a new striker in Manolo Gabbiadini to work with, and he is delighted to have him as part of the squad.

"That's competition, and it's only helpful competition," he said. "He's only going to drive me on to be better and I'm hopefully going to do the same for him.

"I was delighted for him when he scored, and he was delighted for me when I scored at the end, and I think that just shows the team spirit that we've got this season, which is important. We're going in the right direction definitely."

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