Gavin McCann yesterday underlined his commitment to Aston Villa by signing a new three-year contract. The 27-year-old midfielder had just a year left on his Villa Park deal but has now agreed to stay on until the summer of 2008.
Villa boss David O'Leary stated earlier this week that it was imperative Villa keep McCann, who arrived with Thomas Sorensen from Sunderland in a £4 million package deal two years ago.
"Gavin is the kind of unsung hero that is sometimes only appreciated by the players," O'Leary had said.
"You don't realise what he contributes until he is missing from the team.
"Last season, he had big problems with his knee but tried to carry on, virtually on one leg, until it got too bad for him to continue."
A one-year option is also built into the midfielder's new contract, and Villa will now look to tie up Sorensen on new terms.
McCann, who won one England cap in the early stages of Sven-G^ran Eriksson's tenure, has long since fallen out of favour at international level but remains a key man for Villa.
He has returned to action and is a certainty to be in the starting line-up for the new season if he is fit.