West Brom defender Jonas Olsson admitted today his partnership with Gareth McAuley was the hidden factor in his decision to commit his future to the club.
The giant Swede, whose new long-term deal at The Hawthorns gives him the chance to become an authentic club legend, is the latest to salute the Northern Ireland veteran’s belated Premier League success.
McAuley was an inspired pick by former head coach Roy Hodgson, who recruited the defender on a free transfer the summer before last.
It proved a master-stroke few predicted as McAuley re-launched a career previously limited to lower-division football by forming a partnership with Olsson hailed as “one of the best in the Premier League” by goal keeper Ben Foster.
And it now appears one of its extra benefits was in persuading Olsson to sign a new four-year deal last week.
He said: “I finally feel I’ve been able to get a good partnership at centre-half. I enjoy playing with Gareth and I hope our relationship can be a long one.
“One of the reasons I have re-signed is that I really love playing with him. He’s a good guy as well and that makes it easier to connect on the pitch.”