West Brom's Gareth McAuley focused on Euros amid Leeds and Leicester interest

Northern Ireland Fans

The defender is a reportedly a free transfer target for both the Yorkshire side and former club Leicester City.

Leeds United and Leicester linked Gareth McAuley is focused on helping Northern Ireland to a significant result this weekend, despite being out of contract with West Brom this summer, according to the Birmingham Mail.

He has been offered a one-year deal at the Baggies, but there is significant interest in the giant centre back from other side, with both Leeds United and Leicester City said to be interested in recruiting the player too.

The Birmingham Mail are reporting that the defender is holding out to see what potential suitors offer, considering the best possibility for earning regular football ahead of the European Championships next summer.

McAuley is focused on preparing for Saturday's crunch match with Romania in Group F, with Northern Ireland in as good a position as they've ever been to qualify for France, especially considering the amended qualifying rules this time round.

“It’s important we treat this game just like any other," the 35-year-old said of the match in Belfast in the Birmingham Mail. "The preparation has been exactly the same.

“Obviously we want to keep the momentum going by getting a good result on Saturday night.

"Our minds are focused on winning games. If we go and lose the next five games we aren’t going to qualify for anything.

“That is something which can drive us on during games."

Northern Ireland are sat in second place in the group and just one point behind leaders Romania. Crucially for Michael O'Neill's side, they are four points clear of third placed Hungary.

With 52 caps in his locker, McAuley has been a vital part of his country's impressive form as they try to secure their first tournament football since 1982, and ensuring he gets as much football under his belt between now and next summer may be key to any transfer decisions he may make.

He came back into the West Brom side under Tony Pulis last season, playing plenty of matches in the second half of the campaign, but McAuley could be waiting to see whether defensive additions are made at the Hawthorns which could impact his game time.

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