Sport

Austin basks in role at Leeds United

IAN BURNETT with the REGGAE BOYZ in Guatemala - WORLD CUP QUALIFIER

Saturday, October 13, 2012    

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GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala — Though it has been a little over two months, Reggae Boy Rodolph 'Rudy' Austin is enjoying his new job at Leeds United in the English Championship.

The former Portmore United midfielder who spent a number of years at FK Brann in Norway has made an impressive start to his three-year contract with the team now joint sixth, five points off the lead.

He has started in all 13 league and cup games, registering three goals, two of which came in the league and is fast becoming a crowd favourite.

"It's fun so far since I've been there," he told the Jamaica Observer on Thursday, just over 24 hours ahead of the Reggae Boyz's crucial CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying Campaign series against Guatemala here at the Mateo Flores Stadium.

"I'm doing well, the team is doing well and it's good being a part of it. They want to get promotion to the Premier League and everything is going well so far, so we just have to keep doing well as a team and hopefully, it will continue," Austin said.

The bustling player with a thunderous right-foot shot noted that his gaffer was desirous of the team being in close contention and the fact that they have garnered seven points from their last three outings is a sign things are going in the right direction.

But the player is overwhelmed by the professional life of a footballer in England.

"It is where anyone would want to be. It is more professional and life is much better there in terms of the facilities and everything. It just feels different — the language, the food and the atmosphere in the training sessions and at the games, it is just wonderful... it is amazing to be a part of that."

Regarding the style and the culture of the game there, he said: "The tempo is much quicker, no mistakes. If you make mistakes you are going to pay for it. The football is nice and the atmosphere inside the stadium just makes you want to give it your best."

Austin, who was uncertain to play last night having suffered a twisted left ankle injury against Barnsley on Saturday, believes his switch to the English League will aid his development as a player.

"It will help my international football because when you play with better players you will automatically improve and that is what I am doing now. It will help me with my game in terms of, I think I'm now better able to take care of the ball and I feel more confident now as a player than before.

"It is where I have always wanted to be and now that I'm there I just give my all and do my best in training and in games and just enjoy it because I'm comfortable."

He's also still coming to grips with the adoration of the fans who have already composed a song about him.

"It is amazing to be a Jamaican and get the love that I get there... they have a song there for me already and anywhere I get the ball they shout "shoot!", and when I tackle the place erupts, so it's a good feeling and it's a good place to play at home and even away from home, because a lot of fans travel to these games, so it is wonderful to be a part of that."

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