STOKE CITY were today given a major pre-season boost when last season's Player of the Year Matthew Etherington secured his long term future with the Club.

The 28-year-old winger has agreed a new four year contract with the Potters after making such a big impact since his arrival from West Ham United in January last year.

Etherington had another two years on his existing contract to run, but the Club have rewarded him for his excellent form over past 18 months with a new long term deal.

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Manager Tony Pulis expressed his delight at the securing of the new agreement, saying: "Matty has played a key role in our success since he came here so this is fantastic news for the Club.

"Natural left wingers are like gold-dust and we are fortunate to have one of the best in the Premier League who has shown that with his performances for us."

He added: "With his long-term future at the Club settled, the lad can now concentrate on what he does best and that is showing people he is a top, top player.

"It was unfortunate that injury struck last season when he had a good chance of forcing his way into the reckoning for England's World Cup squad, but the challenge for him this season is to try and improve upon his best form and put himself in contention.

"He is one of a number of players who must feel that opportunity knocks now following England's disappointing performances out in South Africa because there is every likelihood that Fabio Capello will look to introduce some fresh blood into his squad."

Etherington scooped many of City's Player of the Year awards at the end of the 2009-10 campaign after being such an influential figure in the Club's success as they finished eleventh in the Barclays Premier League and reached the FA Cup quarter finals.

The former Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham player not only proved to be handful for opposing full backs, he also chipped in with some important goals.