Steven Taylor has been at Newcastle United for years. The adopted Geordie grew up in the north east, played for Wallsend Boys Club and for Newcastle youth teams as a youngster. He made his senior debut for Newcastle in 2003, so isn’t far off a decade with the Magpies. Like any career, Taylor’s has had it’s ups and downs, but while so far this season Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul has rightfully been earning the plaudits, Tayls also seems to have stepped it up a gear. So could this be the season when Taylor finally stamps his mark on the Newcastle starting eleven and becomes a permanent fixture in the Magpies’ back line?
Taylor has all the attributes to be a top defender. He’s big and strong and by all accounts has even bulked up a little bit over the summer. He’s come into the start of the season looking in good shape and was clearly full of confidence after netting three goals in three games at the back end of last season. He’s also formed a good partnership with the experienced Newcastle captain Fabricio Coloccini, who can only help to progress Taylor’s game. The Argentinean reads the game well and complements Taylor’s physical attributes, as well a compensating for his naivety at times.
Steven isn’t the brightest tool in the box, if his namesake and big mate Ryan is to be believed, and this is often shown on the pitch. Claiming Joey Barton had been elbowed by Gervinho on the opening day of the season wasn’t clever, while we all remember his acting when he handballed in the six yard box against Aston Villa a few years ago. But I for one am glad he’s still at Newcastle, as less than 18 months ago it looked as though his future in the north east was in doubt.
Taylor’s career has been blighted by injury, and he missed a lot of the 2009/10 season after a falling out with Andy Carroll over his missus. The result was that Carroll gave Taylor a broken jaw and given the striker’s importance to Chris Hughton’s team at the time, it looked like Steven might be eased out. However, Carroll has since gone and while Taylor hasn’t been completely injury-free, he has managed to string a few consecutive appearances together and is clearly part of Alan Pardew’s first choice central defensive pairing.
The centre back has been a Newcastle captain in waiting for many years, but finally now it looks like he could be mature enough to take the mantle off Coloccini in a couple of years’ time. He clearly loves the club and has the drive and determination required. I think so far his career can be summed up by one match for the England U21s where he got injured but still had the nerve to stand up and be counted and come forward to cooly slot home a penalty in the shootout. Steven Taylor will never go missing when he steps onto the pitch and 2011/12 could just be the season when he becomes the Geordie defensive rock that we’ve been longing for.
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