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McAuley earns Clarke praise

West Bromwich Albion manager Steve Clarke has paid tribute to Gareth McAuley and admitted it is surprising the centre-back had to wait so long to make his Premier League breakthrough.

Last Updated: 08/12/12 at 21:58 Post Comment

Gareth McAuley: Has managed to make the step up to the Premier League towards th

Gareth McAuley: Has managed to make the step up to the Premier League towards th

Northern Ireland international McAuley, 32, has played a key role in establishing Albion in the top flight via his partnership with Jonas Olsson at the heart of the back four.

But McAuley's entire career was spent outside of the Premier League before Roy Hodgson brought him to The Hawthorns on a free transfer from Ipswich 18 months ago.

Clarke believes there are other bargains to be found in the lower leagues but that there is a reluctance from some clubs to delve into that area of the footballing pyramid.

He said: "When you see how well Gareth has done, and how well he's acquitted himself to the Premier League, I am surprised he stayed under the radar for so long.

"Is there a reluctance to take a gamble? I don't think there is a reluctance on the part of our club, but maybe from others.

"Some of the bigger clubs, in inverted commas, look elsewhere for their talent but it is possible they are missing out on a good find from the lower leagues.

"I think the example of Gareth also gives hopes to people in the lower leagues.

"The players that have been stuck down in the lower leagues for ages may think there's not a way up - but there is a way up. If you get the breaks, Gareth has shown you can do that."

Clarke added: "If you watch Gareth week in, week out, you can see what he brings to the team. He's a good, honest, old-fashioned central defender.

"He puts his head in where it hurts, wins his tackles, makes his interceptions and keeps the game simple.

"He's got a real hunger because he did come into the game late and he's got his chance at the top level late.

"He's got a real hunger and desire to do well every game and that's a fantastic attribute to have."

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terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

rodger's gusset
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he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

ricky villa
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o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

badwolf
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