Clarke delight at 'big coup' for club as midfielder commits until 2016
ALBION have secured the services of James Morrison for a further four years after the key midfielder today penned a new contract.
The Scotland international, the longest-serving player in the current squad, has been rewarded with an improved deal which commits him to the club until 2016.
Morrison has become an increasingly influential figure since joining the Baggies in 2007 and enjoyed arguably his best season at The Hawthorns last term, cementing his position in central midfield and bagging five goals.
Head coach Steve Clarke said: “After strengthening the squad during the transfer window, it’s equally important to hold onto your best players and I’m delighted James has signed a new deal.
“The new contract is fair reward for James’ hard work and efforts.
“He’s been here a number of years now and has always been one of the key players.
"This is a good message to send to the rest of the squad, that if you do well and keep improving you will be rewarded.
“It’s also a big coup for the club because I’m sure that if James was on the market, there’d be a few clubs interested in him.”
Sporting & technical director, Dan Ashworth, added: “I’m delighted James has committed his future to the club for the next four years.
“He’s been one of our most effective players in the Premier League over the last couple of seasons and fully deserves his improved deal.
“The fact we’ve got a player of James’ calibre to sign a longer contract is a sign that the club is moving in the right direction.”
Morrison, who joined Albion from Middlesbrough just over five seasons ago, had entered the final two years of his previous deal.
After helping the Baggies win the Championship title in his first season at the club, the versatile 26-year-old caught the eye during the relegation season of 2008/09.
‘Mozza’ finished as one of the runners-up for the club's Player-of-the-Season Award and also broke into the Scotland squad, in which he has since become a permanent fixture.
A heel injury suffered towards the end of that season sidelined him for ten months but he returned to fitness for the final throes of the club’s successful automatic promotion push in 2009/10.
Morrison was a regular during Albion’s Barclays Premier League return the following term, when the Baggies finished impressively in 11th place.
He then enjoyed a sparkling 2011/12, winning the club’s Goal-of-the-Season Award for his stunning volley at Blackburn and again finishing runner-up in the Supporters' Player-of-the-Season Award poll as Albion finished in the top ten.