This really will be Like A ‘New Signing’ for Newcastle
Don’t get me wrong, I despise Pardew’s long list of excuses, contradictions and cliches as much as the next Toon fan.
However, in the case of the ‘he’ll be like a new signing’ status of a first-team player returning from injury, he might not be too far off in the case of one player in particular.
Ryan Taylor has been missing from our first team since our Europa League qualifier against Greek side Atromitos. I had an all too front-row view of the tackle and fall which has resulted in his agonisingly long stay in the NUFC treatment room.
He was close to a return near the end of the 2012/13 campaign, before further injuring his cruciate ligaments, forcing him to miss the entirety of last season.
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Taylor, 30, had become a fan favourite in the year or so before his injury, nicknamed ‘Over The Wall’ for his trademark curling free-kicks, including ‘that’ one against Sunderland (which now seems like a hell of a long time ago).
In an immensely successful 2011/12 campaign that saw us finish 5th, Taylor impressed me greatly. Spectacular goals were never far away with him in the side, with his stunning volley at home to Everton that year a particular highlight.
Though never a spectacular player, his ability with set-pieces could only be described as such, an area where we are in dire need of improvement.
The ‘float it to Williamson’ tactic has gone on far too long without reward. In the modern game, set-pieces are essential routes to goals, especially for teams like ourselves that, let’s say: ‘aren’t what we used to be’.
Taylor’s pinpoint crossing and deadly shooting from these scenarios could really give us a lot more impetus. The roar of encouragement when a home side wins a corner is something not found very often at St. James’ Park nowadays.
Ryan Taylor has always been a good, solid, resolute player that can only (in my opinion) improve us on the pitch. Our left-back slot has been marred with the likes of Dummett and Haidara failing to build on early signs of promise, and the injury-prone Santon being incredibly hit and miss.
Taylor made that position his own in the 2011/12 campaign that saw us reach almost Champions League calibre. Taylor can also fit in at right-back, right-midfield and as a holding midfielder, taking to the right wing in our memorable 3-0 home triumph against Manchester United in 2012. He can only be of great benefit to what is evermore looking like a paper-thin squad.
Over two years on after his last Premier League appearance, we find ourselves lacking in threat, quality and most importantly, points. Taylor made his return in the 8-0 friendly win over Carlisle a couple of weeks ago, and although he is still a month or so from match fitness, I’m certainly looking forward to seeing our new no.4 in action again.
He’s not going to rescue us from our current situation but there’s no way that his return will do us any damage.
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