Why Steven Taylor would deserve an England call-up

March 13, 2013 in International, Premier League

Recently, there have been murmurs that Roy Hodgson is an admirer of Newcastle’s Steven Taylor. I’m not surprised by this; he is a brilliant defender who shows passion and love for the game and his club, so why wouldn’t he do the same for his country? Today, I will delve in and see if he is truly worthy of his possible England call-up.

Steven Taylor Newcastle

First off, I am going to look at the last international squad that was announced. The three central defenders in the team were Phil Jagielka, Joleon Lescott and Gary Cahill. Now with England, defenders have usually run their course by the age of 31/32, so at the very most, Lescott and Jagielka both have a couple of years left in them at international level, as both have hit the 30 mark. Another interesting fact, even though he has been around a lot longer, Steven Taylor is actually younger than Gary Cahill, only by a few months. After competing with Newcastle United since 2004, making his debut at the tender age of 17, he has been a mainstay in their defence, apart from when he gets injured. So if Hodgson were to bring Taylor into the fold of the England national team, he would have a good five years left to leave his mark, provided his injury troubles don’t come back to haunt him. Which brings me on to my next point.

Is it the right time for Taylor? Statistically, yes it is. Over the past few seasons back in the Premier League, Taylor has been hit with numerous injury problems, limiting his performances, and while he has played well during those matches, his career has been too stop-start to warrant a call-up to the national team. And yes, I know what you’re all thinking. Wasn’t Steven Taylor injured this season as well? Yes, he was, but that still hasn’t stopped him from featuring in as many games as he did in 2009/2010, their Championship season, and with more of the season still to come, that tally will rise. As I said, over the past couple of seasons, there has been a pattern; he would play, look amazing for the most part, and then an injury would hit and keep him out for most of the season. His involvement in European competition this season has boosted his number of appearances, despite the fact that he was out for the period between November and February, which saw Newcastle drop perilously close to the relegation zone, with most supporters fearing they may be sucked into the mire and face another tense season, hoping to survive. One point from last season I would like to point out is that, statistically, Newcastle had the best defence in the league for the first 10 games, with the partnership of Coloccini and Taylor shining to such an extent that saw people such as Match of the Day pundit Alan Hansen scratching his head as to what was happening. But when Steven Taylor picked up an Achilles injury in December, and Mike Williamson had to step in, it all went defensively downhill.

This is a problem Steven Taylor has suffered with for the past few seasons. Every time Steven Taylor gets injured, he has always been on the brink of an England call up; so his recent form isn’t a good sign for Newcastle in that respect - with Fabricio Coloccini already injured for six weeks with a broken back, they can’t afford to lose Taylor now. While Taylor played during the dismal start to the season, he had done better in Europe, having not even conceded a goal, until their second game against Brugge, which Taylor played in as a substitute, and with both goals for Brugge having already been scored by his appearance, there was nothing he could have done to stop them. He came on when it was 2-2, and made sure they sealed a point from that game.

It’s no coincidence either that Steven Taylor’s return to the side has sparked off a new lease of life for a struggling side. Coupling that with other injury returns of key members like Yohan Cabaye, as well as the new French contingent, United have managed to turn their luck around; they have won four of their last six games in the league, climbing up to 13th, nine points away from the relegation zone, and are now on the same points as the team in 10th, Fulham. He had missed the bulk of the bad run of the Newcastle season, with high scoring games, and losses, against teams such as Manchester City, Manchester United, and Arsenal, conceding 13 goals in those three games, a ‘feat’ I’m sure would not have been achieved if Taylor had been in defence for the Toon.

Now a permanent fixture in the United defence once again, holding off competition such as new signing Mapou Yanga-M’Biwa, this would be the perfect time to put Taylor back into the England squad. With competition such as Lescott being pushed out of his respective squad by Nastasic and Kolo Toure, Lescott is fourth in the pecking order at City, and if that still warrants a call-up over a player who has been playing well for the past month at least, then I am stumped as to what would be going on in the England camp. And with Chelsea slightly faltering - in fact, losing to Steven Taylor’s Newcastle team just over a month ago - Cahill is also performing at a lower level, but because he has a higher reputation, I’m sure he’ll get in the squad. Also, with Jagielka picking up an injury in the game against Reading, all the signs point towards involvement in the England team from Steven Taylor. Calls from the media are mainly focusing on taking Rio Ferdinand back, but at 32 years of age, surely it would be better to put in somebody who is in the prime of their career, rather than the twilight zone?

Taylor is strong, powerful, great in the air, and one of the most passionate players I have seen for club or country. He puts his body on the line on a weekly basis for Newcastle, and I believe he would replicate that for England to prove his worth. He has played for England on every other level, and was the under-21 captain in the past. Surely this shows that Taylor was considered to be more than capable at international level, if he was leading the u-21 team.

I would like to see Hodgson pick Taylor, but let’s not forget that this is England we’re talking about, and I’m sure we’ll take Terry (despite his retirement), Ferdinand and Cahill probably, to the chagrin of everybody who wants to see others get a chance. The media rules this country, and the players with the higher reputations usually end up getting the chance to play at the big stage, even if they have been there and done it already.

My sentiment: Give someone else a chance, and step aside.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got time for today, make sure you remember to hit me up on Twitter, @drl_nufc, as well as the Ballsy Banter crew. Much love.

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