Steven Taylor relishing meeting with 'familiar face' Samuel Eto'o - European - Football - The Independent

Steven Taylor relishing meeting with 'familiar face' Samuel Eto'o

Newcastle play Anzhi Makhachkala in the Europa League

Newcastle defender Steven Taylor is relishing the chance to renew acquaintances with an old foe - despite admitting Samuel Eto'o may have no idea who he is.

The pair last came up against each other in March 2004 when an 18-year-old Taylor was handed a senior debut as a late substitute as the Magpies completed a 7-1 aggregate victory over Real Mallorca in the Balearics on their way to the UEFA Cup semi-finals.

Taylor and Eto'o swapped shirts after the game and, while the defender still has his souvenir as a prized possession, he is not so sure the much-travelled striker, now plying his trade at Anzhi Makhachkala, will have been as impressed.

He said: "I remember that - he's probably still got my shirt as his duster! He might bring it to the game with cobwebs on it.

"I never thought I would play against him again. He won't have a clue who I am, no chance!

"To have the chance of playing against a top-quality player like him is good. I've still got his shirt - it's framed."

The reunion will come at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on Thursday evening when Anzhi host Newcastle in the first leg of their Europa League last 16 tie.

While Eto'o has spent much of the intervening years playing at the very top for Barcelona and Inter Milan, Taylor and the Magpies have experienced something of a rollercoaster ride.

However, having secured a return to European competition, they are determined to extend their run as far as possible, although their credentials will be put to the sternest of tests in Russia.

Taylor, who was part of the side unfortunate to go down 1-0 at Swansea in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday, said: "They have spent a lot of money, but we have got class in our team - look at the players we have got.

"We showed quality [against Swansea], and they have got to be worried about what we have got.

"We will have young, fresh players with more energy on the pitch.

"We will need that in Moscow."

PA

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