‘Old school’ Steven Taylor is part of the new school at Newcastle – despite opening-day axe

Steven Taylor (Sacramento Republic FC/Douglas Taylor)
Steven Taylor (Sacramento Republic FC/Douglas Taylor)

Steve McClaren says Steven Taylor is firmly in his plans – despite axing him for Newcastle United’s season-opener.

Chancel Mbemba was preferred to Taylor at centre-half for last weekend’s Premier League game against Southampton, which ended 2-2.

I like Steven – I’ve known him from a young kid ... great enthusiasm, a true defender of the old school.

Steve McClaren

Mbemba, signed from Anderlecht last month, was paired with captain Fabricio Coloccini, who missed all of the club’s pre-season games with an Achilles problem.

Long-serving Taylor is looking to put the injury problems which have blighted him in recent years behind him.

The 29-year-old is fully fit, having recovered from a ruptured Achilles tendon.

And head coach McClaren – who gave Taylor an England call-up during his time in charge of the national team – feels his “old school” defending will be important to his new-look Newcastle side, who take on Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.

Asked about his importance to United, McClaren said: “Keep him fit, tremendous.

“He’s come back and I don’t think he’s missed many days training. We’re easing him in.

“I like Steven – I’ve known him from a young kid ... great enthusiasm, a true defender of the old school.”

McClaren – who has been drawing on the experience of what he has called a “senior leadership group at United – also believes “vocal” Taylor will be an important figure off the pitch at St James’s Park.

“He’s a leader,” said McClaren. “He’s very vocal, very passionate about the shirt, and (that’s) something you want in the dressing room, and especially somebody you want fit.”