EXCLUSIVE

Noel Whelan claims that West Brom striker Charlie Austin is already under intense scrutiny at the Hawthorns after his early form for the Baggies.

The former Leeds United forward and Championship expert, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, says that the former Southampton man, who joined the club from Southampton in a deadline day switch, is facing significant pressure as the club’s big-name capture over the summer.

The 30-year-old has started just one league game for Slaven Bilic so far, finding himself left on the bench once again for Saturday’s 1-1 against Derby County.

Whelan says that the pressure is already building on the shoulders of the striker after being snubbed and that it is crucial he starts to find some goal-scoring form sooner rather than later.

Whelan told Football Insider: “He’s their star signing, he’s the one they paid the money for to be the difference and win football matches.

“It’s vitally important you get a player starting at a club, that you’ve paid big money for, hitting his form very, very quickly. Football’s cruel, it’s a cruel game and people will be looking at you with a fine magnifying glass.

“Unfortunately he’s chosen a position where you’re looked at a little bit closer than midfield players, same as goalkeepers – you win games and lose games. You’ve got to take the criticism and find your feet very quickly.”

Prior to Saturday’s clash against the Rams, Austin had found the back of the net just once for his new side, coming in the League Cup defeat to Millwall.

His has an impressive record in the Championship, with 66 goals in 131 second-tier appearances.

In other West Brom news, Whelan has told Football Insider that he is questioning the attitude of one Baggies ace.