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Gareth McAuley relaxed over future

West Brom defender Gareth McAuley remains relaxed about his future but confirmed he has no plans to retire.

The 37-year-old's contract expires at the end of the season and he is yet to hold talks with the club about a fresh one.

Both the Baggies and McAuley are comfortable with the situation and he did not sign his current deal until April this year so is in no rush.

But the Northern Ireland international is planning to play on beyond this season and is likely to speak to the Baggies in the new year.

He said: "I'm completely relaxed about it. I will play football next year, I know that, where that is we'll sort that out later on in the season. You can never get too far ahead.

"I'm only thinking about it now because I've been asked but I'm just thinking about Arsenal and two games in 48 hours at New Year.

"Going forward you never know what's round the corner and I've never been one for planning too far ahead. I'll enjoy it and I'll see where we end up."

McAuley has started every one of the Baggies' 17 Premier League games this season with Tony Pulis' side eighth in the table ahead of Boxing Day's trip to Arsenal.

Pulis has said he believes McAuley can play beyond 40 yet the former Ipswich and Leicester man remains realistic about his physical condition.

He added: "People send me bits and pieces on social media, saying things like that, I'm thinking 'has he had a couple of glasses of wine?'

"I'm enjoying myself. One day my body is going to turn around and say 'no, you can't do it anymore'. I will just enjoy it until that happens. I know myself now I will be able play next year. It's little things, like playing the games and not having any reactions or extra fatigue. Physically, touch wood, I'm still in a good place."

McAuley was speaking at a visit to the children's ward at Sandwell Hospital where he, Salomon Rondon, Claudio Yacob and Chris Brunt handed out presents.

"It's humbling but very rewarding. It's giving a little back. Sometimes you can't control your health and it's a hard time for families and making the kids and parents smile makes a huge difference," he said.

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