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Austin eyes move to Aston Villa

Keisha Hill, Staff Reporter

English Premier League giants Aston Villa are weighing up a bid for Jamaica's ace central midfielder, Rodolph Austin, following the transfer of Gareth Barry to Manchester United.

The 24-year-old Austin, who plied his trade locally for Portmore United, recently signed a lucrative four-year contract with Norwegian football club Sports-klubben Brann.

Brann's sporting director, Roald Bruun-Hansen, in a release on said that there has been no concrete offer from Aston Villa for Austin, but said they knew of the Premier League side's interest.

Lucrative spot

Austin, in an interview with The Gleaner following Jamaica's 3-2 win over arch-rivals Panama at the National Stadium on Sunday night, said he felt proud to be considered for the lucrative spot at Villa.

"It's my dream to play in the English Premier League. It is one of the highest leagues and it will help me in terms of my development, " Austin said.

The burly midfielder said if given the opportunity, he would not turn his back on it.

"I hope if any agreements are reached, it will be positive," he said.

He indicated that unlike other Jamaican footballers who seemingly got complacent when signed to top-flight clubs, he had every intention to work hard for his place on the team.

"If I am to go to Aston Villa, I will go there and work as hard as I can as anybody for my game because nothing comes easy," Austin said.

However, Austin said he would continue to honour his commitments at SK Brann.

"I have a four-year contract in Norway. I don't want to concentrate on England when I am in Norway. I have to concentrate on the team that I am playing for at the moment," he said.

Austin said his sojourn in Norway has helped him to develop his game, as well as financially assisting his family to have a better life and allowing him to do things he had always wanted to do.

"I had always wanted to get a contract and it happened as a result of hard work. I am very grateful," Austin said. "I am a starting player in the team. I go out there and play hard and give my all for the team," he said.

Playing time

When quizzed if he had any concerns that if he were transferred to Aston Villa he would not get as much playing time, Austin said: "It's what you go out there and do. If you train hard and play well then they have to play you. You have to believe you can to be in the team."

He said the response from his former club, Portmore United, has been positive and he was happy that having signed to SK Brann, the club and others in the league have benefitted from his contract.

"It's also good that they have given a scholarship in my name at Clarendon College," he said.

According to Howard McIntosh, a director of Portmore United, playing in the English Premier League was something Austin has always wanted and now that the transfer window was open it would be an ideal opportunity.

"It would be more than an achievement for him," McIntosh said. "Such an opportunity is the ultimate for any footballer."