Etherington extends Hammers stay

Matthew Etherington has given West Ham United a boost by pledging his future to the club until summer 2012.

The left winger's existing terms had been due to expire in June 2009 but he was pleased to put pen to paper on a new deal. The 26-year-old, who has scored three goals in 17 league and cup appearances so far this season, said: "I am delighted to have signed a new contract and commit my future to West Ham. I have always been happy here since the day I arrived and I look forward to the next four-and-a-half years."

Etherington made his Hammers debut alongside Anton Ferdinand in the 2-1 win away at Preston North End on 9 August 2003, just after moving to east London from Tottenham Hotspur, meaning only veteran defender Christian Dailly has been a first-team regular for longer. An instant hit with the fans, he was voted Hammer of the Year at the end of the 2003/04 season as the club just missed out on an automatic return to the Premier League.

The Truro-born midfielder, who has particularly linked up well with George McCartney on the left-hand side this season, added: "Behind Christian, I am the longest-serving player which I am very proud of. There have been a lot of ups and downs both personally and on the pitch but the club have stood by me as have the fans and for that I will always be grateful. That is why I have committed my future here."

Identified early in his career as a promising talent, Etherington first came to national prominence in January 2001 when he joined Tottenham from Peterborough United, the club where he progressed through the ranks before his first-team debut at the age of 15 in May 1997. He made a total of 51 appearances for Peterborough, scoring six goals, before playing 45 times and scoring once for Spurs.

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