London - Former bricklayer Charlie Austin continued his remarkable rise from the backwaters of part-time football as the Queens Park Rangers striker was named December's Premier League player of the month on Friday.
The 25-year-old Englishman outshone the division's leading lights during the festive period and scored five goals in as many games for struggling QPR, including a hat-trick in a home win over West Bromwich Albion.
Only Manchester City's Sergio Aguero and Chelsea's Diego Costa, two of the game's most high-profile talents, have scored more than Austin's 13 top-flight goals his season, a stat made more impressive by the fact that QPR are second-bottom of the table.
The award for his scintillating form will add to the growing calls for Austin to receive his first England call-up, a world away from non-league sides Kintbury Rangers, Hungerford Town and Poole Town where he began his career while working as a bricklayer.
QPR manager Harry Redknapp, who bought Austin from Burnley for 4 million pounds in 2013, has likened the striker's rise to prominence to that of a story from comic book "Roy of the Rovers".
"I'm delighted that Charlie Austin has won Player of the Month. Let's hope he keeps scoring for us," Redknapp told a news conference ahead of the visit of Manchester United on Saturday.