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Oct 12, 2012

McAuley wants to extend Albion stay

West Bromwich Albion defender Gareth McAuley wants to follow in the footsteps of Jonas Olsson and earn himself a new contract at the club.

• Blog: Olsson deal sign of progress

Olsson, 29, recently committed himself to the Hawthorns with a new four-year deal and claimed it was his link-up with defensive partner McAuley, 32, that had played a big part in him staying at the club.

The Northern Ireland international is now approaching the point where he only has 18 months remaining on his contract and although he will celebrate his 33rd birthday in December he still feels he has plenty to offer at the highest level.

"I'd love to stay at Albion and I just want to play football for as long as I can," he said. "I don't want it to end and I just want to keep playing for as long as I can, winning games, and if I can keep putting in performances, why not? I started at the bottom, so why not finish at the top?"

England manager Roy Hodgson raised a few eyebrows when he signed McAuley during his time as Albion head coach, but the club have been rewarded with a succession of excellent performances since the defender has broke into the side under new boss Steve Clarke.

The former Lincoln City man feels his experience and the fact his body is fresh and will last longer, due to not signing a professional contract until the age of 24, also counts in his favour.

"I've come into the game later as well so maybe my body hasn't taken as much of a battering as all the young lads who have come through academies," he said.

"They all play football 24/7 from the moment they are 15, so in that way all I can say at the minute is I feel good and I feel strong. I look after myself and train every day and fitness isn't a problem. The older you get, the more you think about it and in the Premier League a lot of the game is played in your head really.

"Obviously it is physical and quick but you've got to think a lot more while you're playing and your speed of thought has to be spot on, rather than what it's like in the Championship. You have to use your head when you're playing and I think that comes with experience, especially playing at centre-half."

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