England striker Darius Vassell has ended speculation over his future by signing a new contract with Premiership club Aston Villa FC.
The 23-year-old's existing deal at Villa Park had been due to expire at the end of the present season, but Vassell has now agreed to stay for another two years taking him up to 2006.
World Cup place
Vassell has been a major success for England since breaking into the national side under Sven-Göran Eriksson. He scored on his debut in a 1-1 friendly draw in the Netherlands in February 2002, which helped earn him a place in the squad for the 2002 FIFA World Cup finals.
More recently, Vassell struck the first goal in England's UEFA EURO 2004™ qualifier against Turkey in April, which Eriksson's men won 2-0. Vassell has four goals in 14 appearances for his country.
The Birmingham-born Vassell began his career with six appearances for Aston Villa FC in 1998/99. By the following campaign, he was a regular first-team player for the Midlands club. His decision to stay is a major boost for new Villa manager David O'Leary, who took charge of the club in the summer.
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