Newcastle United defender Mike Williamson signed a new five-and-a-half year contract with the Premier League club today.
Williamson has played a key role in Newcastle's solid start to life back in the English top-flight after last season's promotion from the Championship.
Magpies manager Chris Hughton rates the 27-year-old as one of the finest English central defenders on current form and was delighted to hand him an improved deal.
Hughton said: "Mike has been outstanding for us since he came here. He was somebody who I tracked for a while before we got him, and he has perhaps exceeded even the expectations we had of him.
"He has a brilliant attitude and in my opinion has been one of the best English centre-backs in the league this season."
Former Portsmouth centre-back Williamson added: "I've played in the lower leagues before, so to get the opportunity to play at St James' Park every other week - and grounds like the Emirates and Old Trafford - is fantastic for me.
"Me and my family have settled here quickly and it's great to know that we'll be staying here for a long time to come."