O's starlet signs up

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Leyton Orient have handed a new contract to highly-rated defender Gabriel Zakuani.

The DR Congo-born stopper has signed an 18-month extension at Brisbane Road.

"Gaby's been magnificent this season and it's no surprise his performances have caught the eye of some bigger clubs because he's been playing week-in week-out at a high standard," said Orient boss Martin Ling.

"He excelled in the two FA Cup games with Premiership clubs and that's obviously enhanced his reputation even further.

"He deserves this new deal, which has a year's extension on it until the summer of 2008, and I expect that if he continues to impress, we will receive some sort of offer for him.

"I expect people to keep tabs on Gaby's progress - he's on a steep learning curve and if he continues to develop he will go on and play at the top level.

"Gaby's been with us from his early days in the Centre of Excellence and progressed through the youth set up and reserves to the first team - he's a great example to all our young players of what can be achieved.

"The rawness he brought with him when he came into the side is still an asset and he has continually and quickly improved his defensive attributes."