Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Taylor Pledges to Fight for His Place

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Taylor Pledges to Fight for His Place

Article excerpt

Byline: By Luke Edwards

STEVEN Taylor believes he has become one of the first casualties of Sam Allardyce's rebuilding at Newcastle after losing his place in United's starting line-up.

But, although Taylor admits he is never happy watching games from the bench, he insists he is happy to fight for his place at St James's Park as he waits for another opportunity to force his way back into Allardyce's first-choice back line.

Taylor's rise has been rapid and, just two years after making his Magpies' debut at 18, the former Monkseaton High School pupil was widely regarded as Newcastle's first-choice centre-half last season.

However, with Allardyce making the strengthening of the defence his main objective by signing David Rozehnal, Claudio Cacapa and Abdoulaye Faye, Taylor is no longer certain of a start and found himself on the bench against Everton a fortnight ago after a disappointing display in the 3-1 defeat at Manchester City.

"The competition for places in defence has been the fiercest its been for a long while and that's what you need," said Taylor, who is likely to be a replacement against Tottenham Hotspur tonight.

"It's been different for me this season.

Last season I was pretty much first choice centre-back, but the competition has heated up because of the players the manager has signed.

"It's part and parcel of playing at a club like Newcastle. It's up to me to compete with the other players and prove I should be in the team. I don't have a problem with the competition for places.

"It's the best group of defenders we've had in years. We've got people like Cacapa whose experience has been brilliant. There are quality players around so it's not a shock when I see I'm on the bench and not in the starting line up."

Taylor's case with Allardyce was perhaps not helped by ill-advised complaints from his advisers about his contract status, but the player has sensibly distanced himself from any suggestion he is unhappy with his wages and has vowed to concentrate on his football. …

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