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McAuley signs one-year extension with Baggies

Veteran defender Gareth McAuley has committed himself to West Brom until the end of next season by signing a one-year extension to his contract at the club.

At the age of 37, McAuley is the Premier League's highest scoring central defender this term with six goals in 29 appearances and his form has contributed to the Baggies' rise to eighth in the table.

The Northern Ireland international claimed he was undaunted by the prospect of continuing to play at the top level when he turns 38 later this year, and paid tribute to the fitness staff at The Hawthorns for helping to prolong his career.

"It's very pleasing," he told the club's official website. "I'd like to thank the club, the gaffer and everyone here who helps me to stay fit to be able to play at this level.

"When I signed I just wanted to play in the Premier League and I knew that wasn't a given when I came here. But I've still got that desire today. I don't think that will leave me. It's a good thing because it keeps you motivated, keeps you pushing forward."

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"I've based my decision on physically being able to do it," he added. "If I didn't think I could I wouldn't hang about. The tests don't show any signs that I can't cope with it."

McAuley turned professional in 2004 when he joined Lincoln City from Northern Irish side Coleraine, and he admitted that the prospect of life after football is looming on the horizon.

He said: "I've worked for a living outside the football bubble and I will more than likely have to go back there one day.

"But as long as you can do this, the best job in the world, then you should continue and I'm not going to turn by back on it."