Bobby Gould, the Wales coach, sticks with the front pairing of Ryan Giggs and Dean Saunders, who caused Germany considerable trouble in Cardiff last month, so Taylor earns his first cap as a left-sided wing-back.
Gould said he had modelled his tactics for the final European Championship Group Seven qualifier on those that have served Norway so well. He is convinced the 6ft 2in Taylor's aerial ability makes him ideal to imitate Jostein Flo's wide role.
"It isn't long-ball football," Gould said, "but on a pitch like the one we're playing on you're just not going to be able to play the ball out. Gareth will give us another option with his height. I said before that he is the best header of a ball I have seen since Ron and Wyn Davies."
The Welsh endured a protracted journey to the Albanian capital, fog and a faulty sparkplug delaying their departure from Stansted, and further delays on arrival, they reached the Qemal Stafa stadium too late to train.
Gould's side shows four enforced changes from the one beaten by Jurgen Klinsmann's late goal last month. Next to Taylor in midfield will be Luton's Ceri Hughes, while Nottingham Forest's Dave Phillips returns as captain in the absence of Barry Horne. Eric Young, the 35-year-old Wolves defender, plays for the first time in 20 months.
WALES (European Championship Group Seven v Albania, Tirana, tonight): Southall (Everton), Bowen (Norwich), Melville (Sunderland), Young (Wolves), Jenkins (Huddersfield), Pembridge (Sheffield Wednesday), Phillips (Nottm Forest), Hughes (Luton), Taylor (Crystal Palace), Saunders (Galatasaray), Giggs (Manchester Utd).Reuse content