Darren Bent has revealed he could not believe that Slaven Bilic snubbed Charlie Austin for West Brom’s clash against Derby County and insists the striker needs to be playing regular football now.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Aston Villa and England striker says that the 30-year-old, who joined the Baggies from Southampton in a late transfer switch over the summer, needs to be racking up the minutes to get back to his very best in front of goal.
Bilic chose not to make use of the Burnley and QPR man in the 1-1 draw versus Derby, instead leaving him on the bench as an unused substitute.
Bent admits that he could not understand why Austin was left to watch on from the sidelines when his West Brom teammates were passing up goal-scoring opportunities, insisting he needs to play if he is going to make the desired impact.
Bent told Football Insider: “I was really surprised because I know he’s going to score goals. They had good chances and they didn’t take them.
“Slaven Bilic has spoken about game time and him not being ready yet but he needs to play games – then we’ll see the best of Charlie Austin. We’ve seen at this level, and even in the Premier League, he’s done well.
“At this level especially he can score goals consistently.”
Austin has started just once in the league for West Brom since his move from Southampton, while he did start and score in the League Cup defeat to Millwall.
He has scored at a rate of just over a goal every two games in the Championship, netting 66 times in 131 second-tier appearances.