16:45 17th May 2013
Defender gives Baggies huge boost ahead of season finale
GARETH McAuley has given Albion a huge boost ahead of Sunday’s season finale against champions Manchester United by signing a new-and-improved two-year deal.
The 33-year-old centre-half has been rewarded for his performances this term and is now committed to the Baggies for a further year until June 2015.
It caps a memorable season for McAuley, who made a clean sweep of the Supporters’, Players’ and Disabled Supporters’ Player-of-the-Year awards.
He has started all-but two games of Albion’s record-breaking Barclays Premier League campaign and netted in wins against Everton and Liverpool.
Head coach Steve Clarke said: “I’m absolutely delighted the deal has been done.
“The fact Gareth has signed it tells you it is a good deal for him – and it is certainly a good deal for the club.
“He’s been a standout performer this season and deserves every reward he gets.
“Gareth’s important to the dressing room.
“I’ve mentioned a number of times how strong the dressing room is and how we have a lot of good characters in the dressing room. Gareth is one of those.
“He’s important to the club and squad – both on and off the pitch.”
The Bosman signing joined Albion on an initial three-year deal in July 2011 and has forged a formidable partnership with Jonas Olsson at the heart of the Baggies defence over the last two seasons.
Sporting & Technical Director (Designate) Richard Garlick added: “Gareth’s had a fantastic season and has rightly collected all the awards.
“He thoroughly deserves this extended contract.
“Gareth’s gone from strength to strength and the level he’s playing at now is appreciated by the club and the fans.
“He’s one of the core players in the squad, is a naturally fit lad and a very good pro.”
In total, McAuley has made 73 appearances, including one as a sub, for Albion, scoring four times.