Tuesday 16 October 2018

Northern Ireland defender Gareth McAuley unsure whether he has West Brom future

McAuley played just 456 minutes of West Brom’s disastrous season, having been a regular in the previous campaign.

West Brom have not spoken to Gareth McAuley about his future (Tim Goode/PA)
West Brom have not spoken to Gareth McAuley about his future (Tim Goode/PA)

By Liam Blackburn, Press Association Sport, Panama City

Gareth McAuley has been left in limbo over his West Brom future, but the defender still plans on continuing his career even if it is away from The Hawthorns.

The 38-year-old Northern Ireland international’s deal with the Baggies is up next month and, after seven years with the club, he is in the dark over whether his current employers wish to extend his contract following their relegation to the Championship.

McAuley played just 456 minutes in West Brom’s disastrous top-flight campaign, a season after accumulating over 3,000 when they finished in the top half, and admits he was frustrated at his lack of opportunities under Tony Pulis, Alan Pardew and then Darren Moore.

“It’s been a difficult season – not having played an awful lot as well and it’s the first time I’ve experienced that in my career,” McAuley said.

“Obviously (I’m) very frustrated as I thought I could have helped out more than I did.

“It’s out of your hands if you are not playing. Ending in relegation is gutting, especially after the seven years I’ve had at the club.

“I want to play next year – I’ve not spoken to West Brom, or no-one has been in contact with me since the end of the season. I don’t know where that sits.

“I haven’t been told, ‘We want you there or we don’t want you’. I’m not sure what the club is thinking about me.

“I am absolutely fine with Darren Moore – he’s been great since he’s gone in there and put the values back into the club that were missing and leaving for a while.

“That’s great and I think he’ll do a good job for the club going forward.”

McAuley only started five Premier League games all term and what may prove to be his final Baggies appearance came in February.

Given the team’s struggles and the way McAuley was continuing to impress at international level, the centre-back was perplexed over his omissions.

“I was trying my best to get back into the team but the reasons I was being given for not being included didn’t sit very well with me,” he added.

“But, in saying that, everyone wants to play and if you are not then you still have to support the boys who are pulling on the shirt.

“When you are not winning games it was very frustrating and the answers I was getting back…

“But you’ve got to respect that, got to respect the lads who are playing and keep your head down, keep your mouth shut and if you are asked to play, then try and do what you can.”

With West Brom providing no clarity over his future, McAuley is prepared to continue playing elsewhere and he is open to the possibility of his next destination being abroad.

“It’s not particularly important to stay in the UK,” added McAuley.

“If I have to leave West Brom then I have to move my kids and my family anyway.

“Abroad would possibly interest me, but it doesn’t have to be somewhere warm or anything like that, I just want to be playing regular football.

“Hopefully I’ll have a couple of options to look at. I’ll make the decision on if I am going to play more, rather than sit around.”

Press Association

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