Andy Carroll, the Newcastle United striker, has signed a new five-year contract with the club.
The Gateshead-born forward, a product of the club's youth academy, has committed himself to the United until 2015. "All I have ever wanted to do is play for Newcastle United," he said. "That's been the case since I was a teenager, playing for the juniors and reserves, and it's still the same now."
Carroll, who was handed the famous No 9 shirt at the start of the season, has scored four goals this term including a hat-trick in the 6-0 win over Aston Villa in August. "Every time I pull on the black and white shirt – and even more so now that I have No 9 on my back – it means the world to me, so to be able to do that for at least the next five years is brilliant," added the England Under-21 international.
The Newcastle managing director Derek Llambias was equally thrilled with the 21-year-old's new deal. He said: "We're dedicated to bringing exciting young players through our youth academy to play for the club. Andy Carroll fits that bill, having graduated through the ranks here, and we're extremely pleased to have agreed with him a new long-term deal. Players like Andy are the future of this club and we have spent a long time putting together a deal that is right for both him and Newcastle United."
Despite his three goals against Villa and his sound start to the season Carroll was only on the substitutes' bench last weekend as Newcastle lost to Manchester City. His starting place was given to Shola Ameobi who impressed in the previous match against Chelsea.
Meanwhile the Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has played down suggestions he has decided to retire at the end of the season. United's goalkeeping coach Eric Steele had said: "I think Ed has made his mind up and said this is his last year."
But Van der Sar, 39, insisted that is not the case, saying: "That's complete nonsense. I do not know where this story comes from but it is nonsense. I don't yet know whether I will stop or continue after this season. Only in the course of this season will I think about it. Then I will decide and not before. For now I keep my focus on United."