Gareth McAuley has pledged his future to Northern Ireland – just in time for the start of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
McAuley will be included in Michael O’Neill’s squad for the opening Group C clash against the Czech Republic on September 4.
The 36-year-old’s international future had been cast in doubt following Northern Ireland’s exit from this summer’s Euro 2016 finals in France.
Northern Ireland bowed out at the last 16 stage with a 1-0 defeat to Wales, with McAuley the unfortunate scorer of the own goal that saw Chris Coleman’s side progress.
It did little to detract from what was a stellar tournament for the West Brom defender, and Northern Ireland boss O’Neill is delighted his 63-capped stalwart is back for more.
“He has started the season in fine form for West Brom and I am delighted he made the decision he did,” said O’Neill, who will name his squad for the Czech Republic on Wednesday.
“He had a great championship for us. I have never left him out of the team in my four and a half years in charge and I do not envisage doing it in the next two either.”
Northern Ireland’s other opponents in qualifying Group C are Germany, Norway, Azerbaijan and San Marino.
Their first home match is against San Marino on October 8.