Alan Pardew believes the England manager Roy Hodgson should turn to the Newcastle central defender Steven Taylor to address the growing lack of commanding central defenders in his squad.
Taylor has been called into the full England squad during his career, first in 2007 for the friendly with Germany and then last year when he was an unused replacement for Gary Cahill.
That was, however, 20 months ago and the centre-half has struggled at times to even find a place in Pardew’s first team during that time. His return this season came during Pardew’s darkest hour. Newcastle had not won a Premier League game when he returned to face Leicester at St James’ Park. Newcastle kept a clean sheet and took three points. They followed that victory with more success against Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool, conceding just one goal in the four games since his return. “You can’t argue with his record of four wins since he came back in,” said Pardew.
“He’s a player that when he’s confident can get in the England squad, which he has during my time here. The key to Steven is having a sustained run and staying injury-free, which he is having at the moment. When he gets his confidence he’s an outstanding centre-half.”
One of Pardew’s first acts when he took over in 2010 was to reward Taylor, who came through the ranks at St James’ Park, with a new contract. That five-and-a-half year deal expires in 2016. Taylor was sent off at the start of last season against Manchester City and played only 10 Premier League games.
On Sunday Taylor will try to stop the youth coach who developed him as a youngster, when Newcastle face West Bromwich at the Hawthorns.
“I have massive respect for Alan Irvine – he is one of the best coaches I have had,” he said.
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