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Tugay primed for contract extension

Blackburn Rovers' veteran Tugay Kerimoglu could be set for yet another contract extension if boss Mark Hughes continues to be impressed by the midfield maestro's performances.

It is no coincidence that Rovers' upturn in fortunes has come about since Tugay, who missed the opening three games through suspension following his sending off on the final day of last season, returned to the team.

With offers from his native Turkey, and the Middle East in the past Tugay has remained at Ewood Park, with Hughes convincing him to extend his time with Rovers into the 2006-2007 season.

Tugay was superb once again against Salzburg on Thursday night running the show from the middle of the park, his range of passing as good as always, with his through ball to Benni McCarthy creating the opening goal, which the South African would in part engineer himself also.

Hughes was quick to compliment the Rovers living legend ranking him right up with the best players he's ever played with:

"I was very fortunate in my career to play with a number of top players, and Tugay is very much up there with them.

"In the two UEFA Cup games, he has been absolutely superb, although in fairness to him he was excellent at Middlesbrough last weekend as well.

"But he is belying his years. You can see the enjoyment in his face. He is enjoying every game he is involved in.

"We've not discussed another extension to his contract but, if the season progresses as we hope it does and he continues to be an influence, then we would absolutely look again."

One of Graeme Souness' better signings, the former Turkish International, who amounted almost 100 International caps arrived from Glasgow Rangers in July 2001 for 1.3 million, which when you look back on it is nothing for a man who has been instrumental in Rovers' success over the years, quietly and sometimes over enthusiastically getting on with his job not looking for all the plaudits.

However at 36-years-old, approaching 200 games for Rovers, Tugay is no longer a spring chicken so despite his high quality performances over using him could make him less effective, and Hughes knows this:

"We have to be careful how we use him.

"We have to make sure we don't give him too many games to dull his influence as he is a big player for us.

"It means that during a season he won't play every game, and he understands that, so it's up to me to make sure I use him in the right games.

"He still played 30-odd for us last season, and I think he can do the same this season because I don't see any indication of a wane in his power or strength."

Whenever possible you can see Hughes is resting and saving Tugay, doing again also in the UEFA Cup tie taking him off with time to play when it was apparent that the job was done. This will be a trend that will continue.

A Vital Blackburn member, I can't remember who this was, it may have been Simon Garner Legend or Clint once said, "when Tugay plays well so do Rovers," which is certainly true. One day they will have to do without him, but from the looks of things this may not be quite as soon as some may have feared.

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The Journalist

Writer: Walker Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday September 30 2006

Time: 12:40PM

Your Comments

He is a top talent and it is true that when he is on song we play better. However, I do worry about his ability to keep up with the pace of the Prem. He often gets caught on the ball. I think using him sensibly as Hughes states is the best option. He could perhaps become that luxury player brought on to change a game. I think it's essential to keep him as players such as Bentley and Peter can learn a great deal from him
roversman
I didnt realise he was that old. If he's still playing well though you've gotta keep him for as long as he does.
jono_forest
True Premiership is a lot quicker than the European game, but he can still do a job, for now. As you say roversman he's great to have around and has to be kept to teach the youngsters.
Hughes Da Man
I'm afraid he is that old jono_forest but you wouldn't think it at times would you, although his hair isn't as full as it once was!
Hughes Da Man
well yes hes a class act on the pitch by far but how old is he now 35 - 36 ?? i may be wrong but he will be retiring soon and will we find a replacment for him ?
marshinrover
He's 36. He'll retire some day, but if he carries on like he is is doesn't have to be at the end of this season. They will need a replacement but there would be no one better to learn from so if he could still be with the club when that person arrives they could only get better learning from the master.
Hughes Da Man
its important to keep him but at the same time Hughes will have to find a replacment now, if only to have Tugay around to train with and teach the younger man. The team needs a creative forcre in the middle, just to have something else, we are lucky enough to have two very good wingers but its nice to have the option of that killers pass from the middle as well.
Clint
Exactly Clint the pupil needs to learn from the master. Mokoena seems to be being groomed to take over, but despite his obvious top defensive qualities he doesn't have the range of passing or attacking nouse that Tugay does does he.
Hughes Da Man
 

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