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McAuley's a walking marvel: O'Neill

By Graham Luney

Michael O'Neill has hailed his inspirational centre-back Gareth McAuley as Northern Ireland's walking marvel.

McAuley may be 37-years-old but he's about to sign a new contract at West Brom and he continues to silence doubters at club and international level.

The Larne man will win his 71st cap when Northern Ireland wrestle with Norway in Sunday's World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park and O'Neill says he's astonished by the defender's longevity.

"He is a walking marvel to be honest," said O'Neill.

"If you look at the stats, they're pretty frightening, he's played every minute of every Premier League game for West Brom and he's joint top scorer with Salomon Rondon.

"The combination of him and Jonny (Evans) has been good.

"Every year they probably go well he won't play as many games, 60% of games, but he defies logic, he plays the most minutes.

"Because he came into the professional game late he probably wants to get as much out of the game as he can do."

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