MIDDLESBROUGH midfielder Grant Leadbitter has signed a new contract to keep him at the Riverside until 2018.
The 28-year-old, who started his career at hometown club Sunderland, has emerged as a key player for Boro over recent years.
His contract was due to run out at the end of the season, but his new deal looks set to keep him at the club for the prime years of his career.
Leadbitter, who has captained Boro at times this season and is the Teessiders’ top scorer with nine, joined the club from Ipswich Town in 2012.
Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka says Leadbitter’s contract extension is vital news for the club.
He said: “I’m very pleased Grant has signed his new contract.
“Firstly, he is a very important player for the team, but he is also someone who is finishing his contract and can have offers from other clubs.
“So it is great news that he has decided to stay with us.
“He believes in the project at the club, and that is something I want to see from my players.
“Grant is a very good example to everyone as a professional.”