Taylor call for end to Eduardo hate campaign

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The Independent Football

Birmingham defender Martin Taylor hopes Eduardo's goal-scoring return for Arsenal will finally bring an end to the year-long furore that followed his horrific tackle on the Croatian.

It has almost been 12 months to the day since Taylor mis-timed his challenge on the Brazil-born forward in the third minute of Blues' Barclays Premier League clash with the Gunners at St Andrew's.

That tackle left the 25-year-old with a broken leg and a dislocated ankle and resulted in Taylor receiving death threats, while Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger called for him to be banned for life - a comment he later retracted.

Eduardo finally made his long-awaited return to first-team action on Monday, grabbing two goals in Arsenal's 4-0 FA Cup fourth-round victory over Cardiff - although it was revealed today he will be out of action for two weeks with a new hamstring injury.

Taylor was just as relieved as everyone else to see him make a successful comeback, and now he hopes everyone involved can start to look forward and not back.

"I think it's fantastic, that's the first thing I wanted to see - Eduardo back not just training, not just playing for the reserves but playing for Arsenal and scoring goals. It's great to see," said Taylor.

"It was obviously difficult for him, mentally and physically. But, more so around the time, it was difficult for me as well with all the attention.

"Even as a professional footballer I'm not used to that sort of attention and seeing myself on the back pages of newspapers and on television all the time.

"I've had a lot of support from family and friends and from the football club. But also from the Birmingham fans, as well as fans up and down the country and the general public who have sent messages of support."

Taylor added: "Hopefully it will (be over) now, hopefully I won't be asked too many more questions about it. Eduardo's played, he's done fantastically well to get back to where he is and I'm sure he doesn't want to read about it all the time.

"I'm sure it will get brought up again in the future but I've just got to be positive now and look forward."

Reports yesterday suggested Taylor had not spoken to the the Croatia international striker since the incident.

But the Blues centre-back insists he did visit him in hospital after the tackle and has since been in contact, and branded this week's reports "strange".

"Immediately I tried to go and see him on the Saturday evening in the hospital but he was still in surgery so it was difficult to do that," said the 29-year-old.

"So I went back on the Sunday morning and I was able to see him then with the Arsenal representatives, which was good because of the language barrier and he was recovering from the operation - with the drugs et cetera it was always going to be difficult.

"I later sent emails to Arsenal's liaison officer to pass on to Eduardo to see how he's doing and how he's recovering from the injury and just to say I'm concerned and I hope to gets back.

"It's strange seeing that sort of thing in the paper and it's difficult for your family and friends seeing that sort of thing but there's no problem with it.

"I don't think there's any bitterness now, I've gone through the channels to make sure he's aware that I'm concerned and I want him to get back playing.

"For me, it's a positive week. It's a combination of his rehabilitation and he's done it. It could have been a sad week if reports had said he couldn't come back."

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