Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Roeder Makes Case for His New Defence

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Roeder Makes Case for His New Defence

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Gilder

GLENN Roeder is confident Newcastle's long-suffering supporters have been given a glimpse of abrighter defensive future at St James's Park after hailing Peter Ramage's promising partnership with Steven Taylor.

The pair belied their inexperience on Thursday evening as United kept their first clean sheet in more than a month and having helped Roeder's side to Uefa Cup victory over Fenerbahie, Ramage and Taylor (pictured right) will be determined to keep their places for this weekend's trip to Teesside.

Having dropped his two senior centre-halves for a crucial fixture in the club's Continental campaign, the Magpies boss has offered no clues as to whether he will restore Titus Bramble and Craig Moore for tomorrow's meeting with Middlesbrough.

But considering his obvious contentment with the under-performing pair's rookie replacements, Ramage and Taylor have provided Roeder the kind of selection dilemma he will relish.

"I was delighted with them," admitted the 50-year-old, who is determined to recover from a difficult start to a domestic campaign that has seen his deficient defence contribute to five defeats in eight Premiership fixtures.

"They are two good players and it may be a long-term partnership for this club. It certainly won't be the last time that you see them play together."

Ramage appears to have the edge on Taylor and will be confident of finally getting an extended run in his preferred position having spent the majority of his senior career filling in as an emergency full-back.

"I think that was the third time this season that Peter has played at centre-half and he gave another good performance," said Roeder who, with Ce-lestine Babayaro available for selection again, can afford to play Ramage in his natural position.

Whether Taylor remains as his partner is unclear but, although the 20-year-old's progress has slowed this season, he needs Premiership football if he is to fulfil his vast potential. …

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