Ridgewell: Birmingham best place for Zarate

Stand-in skipper Liam Ridgewell believes striker Mauro Zarate will benefit from playing regular football for another season with Birmingham rather than joining one of the big guns this summer.

Blues boss Alex McLeish wants to keep Zarate - on loan from Al-Sadd - for at least another 12 months and acknowledges he will face competition for the services of the Argentinian at the end of the current campaign.

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The 21 year old showed his quality when coming off the substitutes' bench to score a stunning free-kick equaliser in the 1-1 draw with Everton to take his goal tally to four in four games.

Ridgewell said: "I think we have got a couple of goal-of-the-season contenders, Sebastian Larsson's goal at Spurs could win it but for Mauro to come off the bench and score a goal like that was excellent.

"Coming off the bench he has been doing really well. He got his couple of starts against Reading and Manchester City and did really well.

"Hopefully he can keep banging in the goals towards the end of the season.

"Mauro is definitely doing everything possible to try and convince the club to keep him. He is showing what he can do. I hope he can stop here. He is a great player and we'd like to keep him.

"You can see when a great player is emerging. He has got a good touch and good skill and I am sure he will get even better.

"I think if he stays another year he would benefit from playing regular football. People like myself, and other people who have come to Birmingham, get better by doing that."

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