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New deal for record breaker Gareth McAuley

By Stuart McKinley

Gareth McAuley is set to make history today - and West Bromwich Albion will reward that with a new one-year contract.

The Northern Ireland defender will become the Baggies' oldest outfield player in the Premier League era if he is selected by manager Tony Pulis for their clash with Norwich City and at 36 years and 97 days he shows now signs of stopping.

Pulis is backing Larne-born McAuley to continue making an impact in the Premier League into next season.

"I think the club are in discussions with him. He looks after himself, and he's a great professional, a great lad to have around," said Pulis.

Jonny Evans is now a club colleague of McAuley, as well as being a Northern Ireland team-mate for almost a decade.

"He's a bit of a freak isn't he?," said Evans. "He is a machine really and a great athlete. If you didn't know his age you would never guess how old he is."

McAuley will join up with the Northern Ireland squad next week as preparations for the Euro 2016 finals begin in earnest, starting with a friendly against Wales in Cardiff on Thursday before Michael O'Neill's team takes on Slovenia at Windsor Park on Easter Monday.

QPR striker Conor Washington has been called up for the first time and in an interview with the Belfast Telegraph he spelt out what playing at Euro 2016 would mean to him.

"It's up to me to show the manager, players and the fans what I can do," said Washington.

"If I did manage to make it to France with Northern Ireland it would be a dream come true."

Belfast Telegraph


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