Steve McClaren wants to sweat Newcastle United “asset” Steven Taylor.
The long-serving defender has made one Premier League start so far this season.
Taylor was outstanding in the goalless draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
But the 29-year-old, in the last year of his St James’s Park contract, was dropped for the club’s next league fixture, the home defeat to Arsenal last weekend.
Head coach McClaren, however, feels Taylor will be an important player for him on and off the pitch this season.
And the key for boyhood fan Taylor – whose career has been repeatedly interrupted by injury – is to stay fit, who has been putting in extra work with McClaren’s new fitness coach, Alessandro Schoenmaker.
He’s an important player for us. We just want to keep him fit. If we can keep him fit, you’ve all seen what an asset he is.Steve McClaren
“He’s an important player for us,” said McClaren, who called Taylor up during his time as England coach.
“We just want to keep him fit. If we can keep him fit, you’ve all seen what an asset he is.
“It’s not just in terms of what he brings playing-wise, it’s also the fact that he’s Newcastle through and through.
“He was one of the first people I met through the door, and he’s someone who knows this club inside out.
“He gave me some great information on everything.
“What he needs to do is what he’s doing – stay fit and be ready when he’s called upon.”
Taylor – who has made 260 appearances for a club in a first-team career spanning more than a decade – missed the second half of last season after suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon.
The luckless former England Under-21 international – who has missed 1,205 days to injury in his career according to physioroom.com – worked through the summer to be fit for the start of pre-season.
McClaren’s preferred central defensive partnership so far this season as been captain Fabricio Coloccini and new signing Chancel Mbemba.