Goal takes a look at the career of the Newcastle United youth product…
One of Odisha FC’s star signing this season is Stephen Taylor who is expected to strengthen their backline ahead of the upcoming season of the Indian Super League (ISL).
The Juggernauts have got a new manager Stuart Baxter hoping that the British tactician will guide them to a top-four finish. They have brought in five new faces in the overseas contingent.
The centre-back is a no-nonsense defender who is known for his tactical acumen and physical prowess. His aerial ability is a bonus and comes in handy during set-pieces.
Let’s take a closer look at the veteran defender who has immense experience of playing in the Premier League.
Jersey Number: 27
Taylor was born in Greenwich, London. He started his youth career at Cramlington Juniors and then moved to Wallsend Boys Club. Interestingly, he was scouted by Newcastle as a striker. When he was 13, he was asked to switch position and play in defence as there were no available defenders for a particular match under manager Vince Hutton. Since then he has been playing at the back.
He was instrumental in helping Newcastle win the U17 Premier Academy League in 2001-02. In the quarter-finals, they beat Arsenal, which left Arsene Wenger bitter as he was in attendance. Taylor along with fellow centre-back Chris Carr stood tall in defence and hardly put a foot wrong to oust Arsenal.
It was a dream first half for Newcastle as they pumped in three goals in the first half at Old Trafford. The Red Devils came back strongly in the second half and scored twice but could not avert a 3-2 defeat in the first leg.
In the return leg at St. James Park, Taylor was in the thick of things as United started testing Newcastle’s defensive resolve from the first whistle. After a goalless first half, Calvin Zola-Makongo scored for the home side which put the match to bed.
At 17, he was rewarded for his consistent performances with the U17 side and was handed a professional contract. But he was soon loaned out to Wycombe Wanderers where he played under former Arsenal centre-back Tony Adams.
After his loan period ended, he returned to Newcastle and made his debut in a UEFA Cup match against Mallorca in March 2004. Soon he also made his Premier League debut against Bolton Wanderers.
The 2006-07 season was a landmark year in his career as he scored decisive goals. He scored the winner in a UEFA Cup match against Celta Vigo and a few days later he once again got on the scoresheet against Blackburn Rovers to score his debut Premier League goal.
When Newcastle got relegated in 2009, he stuck to his guns and formed a formidable partnership with Fabricio Coloccini and helped the Magpies regain promotion to the Premier League.
He remained with Newcastle for 13 years and in 2016 he was released by the club. He made 268 appearances for the club and scored 13 goals. His last match was against Tottenham Hotspur in which they humiliated the North-London side 5-1.
MLS and A-League
Taylor joined the Major League Soccer (MLS) side Portland Timbers after ending his time with Newcastle United. He made 11 appearances and scored two goals during his stay in the United States.
In January 2017, he joined Ipswich Town but a hamstring injury forced him to spend time on the sidelines. He made just three appearances and in July joined Peterborough United. He once again established himself as an undisputed starter in his new surroundings and went on to play more than 50 games across all competitions in the 2017-18 season.
In 2018, Taylor accepted an offer from A-League side Wellington Phoenix in his quest for a new challenge. In his second season, he was appointed as the captain of the side. He made 50 appearances in two years across all competitions for Phoenix. He has played alongside ATK Mohun Bagan duo Roy Krishna and David Williams during his stint with the A-League outfit.
Taylor has played for various age group teams for England. From U16 to U21 he has not only represented his country at every level but has also had the captain’s armband at times. He has 56 caps to his name cumulatively for the various teams.
He was also called up for the senior team by Steve McLaren for a friendly against Germany in 2007.
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