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West Bromwich Albion FC Player Profiles

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UPDATED 07:06 17th July 2012

GARETH McAuley enjoyed a successful first season at the Baggies after signing on a Bosman transfer in July 2011. 

The 6ft5in central defender regularly featured alongside Jonas Olsson in the heart of Albion's back four, helping to earn the side ten clean sheets in the Barclays Premier League last term.

The Northern Ireland international also scored vital goals in the Baggies' 3-2 victory at Newcastle in December and the only goal in Albion's 1-0 home triumph over Chelsea in March.  

McAuley has two years of a three-year contract remaining, keeping him at The Hawthorns until the summer of 2014.

He made his compeititive debut in a 4-1 Carling Cup second-round win at Bournemouth in August 2011.

McAuley skippered Ipswich in his first season at Portman Road in 2008/09 and has gone on to build a reputation as one of the Championship's best centre-halves, scoring three goals in 45 appearances this term.

The right-sided defender had won 28 caps for his country before his Hawthorns move and his two goals came in a World Cup 2010 qualifier against San Marino and a Euro 2012 qualifier against Serbia.

He was handed the honour of captaining Northern Ireland against Slovenia in March and led them to a goalless draw.

The Larne-born player spent the first eight years of his career plying his trade in Northern Ireland with Linfield, Ballyclare Comrades, Crusaders and Coleraine, before moving to England to join Lincoln City.

Initially playing as a right-back for the Imps, he helped them reach the League Two play-off final in successive seasons and was named in the division's 2005/06 Team of the Year.

A move to Championship outfit Leicester followed and he spent two seasons at The Walkers Stadium, scoring the equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Albion in February 2007 and notching the leveller in a 4-1 City victory at The Hawthorns 13 months later.

He made the switch to Suffolk when the Foxes were relegated to League One in 2008.

Before joining Albion he had made 295 English career appearances, including 12 as a substitute, scoring 25 times.