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West Bromwich Albion FC Player Profiles

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UPDATED 07:06 17th July 2012

GARETH McAuley has forged a strong central-defensive partnership with Jonas Olsson over the last three seasons.

He signed a one-year contract extension in May 2013 to tie him to The Hawthorns until June 2015.

He enjoyed a successful first season at the Baggies after signing on a Bosman transfer in July 2011, helping to earn the side ten clean sheets in the Barclays Premier League.

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

During the 2012/13 campaign his performances earned him the Players' Player of the Season and Supporters' Player of the Season awards.

He made his competitive Albion 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 went on to build a reputation as one of the Championship's best centre-halves, scoring three goals in 45 appearances.

The right-sided defender had won 28 caps for his country before his Hawthorns move and had scored two goals, coming 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 2011 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.