Jenas signs five-year deal at Newcastle

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The Independent Football

Jermaine Jenas, the Newcastle United midfielder, has signed a new five-year contract which will keep him at St James' Park until 2008.

The 20-year-old, who made his England international debut against Australia earlier this year, has been handed a lucrative new deal less than two years after making his £5m switch from Nottingham Forest.

Jenas - 50 years to the day younger than his manager, Sir Bobby Robson - has started United's last 11 games in succession after recovering from having his wisdom teeth removed and is rapidly establishing himself as a major part of the club's future.

"Moving to Newcastle United 18 months ago has proved to be a terrific career move for me," he said. "This is a fantastic club and a marvellous place to play your football. I hope over the next five years, we can build on our success over the last two seasons and I am looking forward to being involved with a strong and successful team. Also, I would like to thank the fans, who have given me fantastic support since I joined the club."

Robson and his chairman, Freddy Shepherd, persuaded struggling Forest to part with their prize asset in February last year, and they are equally delighted to have tied up his immediate future. "Jermaine and the other top players we have at the club will have a major influence on our future," Robson said. "I'm delighted he's agreed this new deal, which is due reward for the impact he has already made at the club."

Jenas, who already has four full England caps to his name, arrived at St James' with a huge pedigree, but few can have expected him to make the impact he has so soon. His first start was in the derby at the Stadium of Light as Nikos Dabizas headed his side to victory over Sunderland in February, 2002.

Jenas, last season's Professional Footballers' Association Young Player of the Year, has made 71 appearances for the Magpies, a major achievement at a club who have Gary Speed, Kieron Dyer, Laurent Robert, Lee Bowyer, Nolberto Solano and Hugo Viana on their books.