Friday 15 December 2017

West Brom set to reward 'fantastic' Gareth McAuley with new deal

Gareth McAuley celebrates scoring against Bournemouth
Gareth McAuley celebrates scoring against Bournemouth

West Brom defender Gareth McAuley is close to agreeing a new contract.

The 37-year-old Northern Ireland international's current deal is set to expire in the summer but talks are nearing a conclusion that will see him sign a 12-month extension.

McAuley has played a key role in Albion's success so far this campaign, playing every minute of every game as West Brom have exceeded expectations to become surprise contenders for European football ahead of Saturday's Premier League clash against Crystal Palace at The Hawthorns.

He is also the club's joint-leading scorer along with striker Salomon Rondon after netting his seventh goal in last weekend's win against Bournemouth.

"Gareth has been fantastic and we're very close to agreeing a new deal with Gareth," said West Brom boss Tony Pulis.

"He continues to put in performances that have been special for someone his age. He's been absolutely fantastic for us. He's had a great season.

"Hopefully it will be an extension for another year which I'd be absolutely delighted to do for Gareth.

"You shouldn't use the word freak, but his fitness levels and that way he deals with his life off the pitch is just first class. There's no reason why he can't carry on for another year for us.

"He's such a wonderful lad as well around the dressing room. He's the block you want to build your club around. He's one of those building blocks and a wonderful character and lad."

Pulis added: " I know he's getting recognition for the goals he's scoring, he's been very good. He had a spell where you could actually say he cost us a few goals, but he's got through that and I think everyone has those spells.

"He's knuckled down and played a bit safer in certain areas and has been fantastic."

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