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

Bet £10 Get £30

Daily Offers And Promotions. Join Now & Bet £10 and Get a £30 Free Bet

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."

Don't miss any live and exclusive football coverage this festive season. Click here to visit Sky Sports' Festive Calendar

Bet £10 Get £30

Daily Offers And Promotions. Join Now & Bet £10 and Get a £30 Free Bet

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

H

ow are people still backing Arsenal for the title? It's like you're predicting the tide not to come in; Arsenal will finish third or fourth and make the quarter final of the Champions League. It was ever thus.

thefuldutch
F365's Season Predictions

N

othing screams 'Panic!!' when your new manager brings Fellaini on as a sub for your star signing of the summer and within 5 minutes you concede the winner. I know it is only the first game in but I would seriously be sh1**ng myself I was a Man Utd supporter. This has the potential of being very nasty indeed.

stevemelbourne
Now Are You Nervous, Louis?

I

n the words of Pete Townsend, meet the new boss, the same as the old boss. Though I would comment that it's 3 more points than we picked up in the same fixture last year, so that's a 100% improvement.

uncle monty
No Sign That Liverpool Will Lessen Attacking Intent

Footer 365

Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois wants rival Petr Cech to stay

Thibaut Courtois wants Petr Cech, his rival for the Chelsea goalkeeper's jersey, to stay at the club.

Champions League: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger slams decision to send off Aaron Ramsey

Arsene Wenger described Aaron Ramsey's dismissal as "unacceptable" after Arsenal picked up a 0-0 draw at Besiktas.

Sky Bet Championship: Nottingham Forest go top, level with Cardiff, Charlton and Millwall

Nottingham Forest came from behind to replace Bournemouth at the top, level with Cardiff, Charlton and Millwall.

Mail Box

Dear Brendan, Please Sign Di Maria

That's the request to Brendan Rodgers in the mailbox, and not just because it would annoy Man United fans. Plus, more thoughts on why Arsenal didn't want Cescy back...

Man United Fans Still Pining For Mourinho

The morning mailbox ponders where United might be now had the club appointed Jose Mourinho last season, while Chelsea fans are getting very excited...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property