Taylor Will Be Delighted to See Newcastle Return to Premier League
Monday, 17th Apr 2017 06:00
Steven Taylor is a Town player right now but he admits he will be pleased for former club Newcastle if they regain their Premier League status.
The experienced defender, ruled out of the game and for the rest of the season with a hamstring injury, said: “I will be delighted for them because they deserve to be back in the Premier League – the club, the fans, the whole lot.
“We deserved to be down in the Championship because we got relegated. They had to get sorted out and I think Rafa’s done it. He’s got a fantastic thing going up there. But for us – we’ve got to get a result against them.
“For us it’s about rebuilding and trying to do what they’ve done this year next year. The play-offs are always going to be a target for Ipswich.”
Taylor, released by Newcastle after 14 years when they were relegated last season, was asked if a little part of him wished he was still a part of the renaissance under Rafa Benitez at St James’ Park.
He replied: “They’ve done great and with the way he rotates the players just about everybody’s got involved. But for me it’s all about playing and I want to play every week. As a professional footballer you are never happy being a bit-part player.
“You want to be in amongst it and the best thing for me was getting my mojo back in America when I was constantly playing. I want to be a part of something special and build something here.
“When I left Newcastle I never thought I’d play against them and then this chance came around.
“It would have been a weird one for me and I think I’d have found it very difficult in my head. People keep saying ‘What if you played and scored? How would you react?’ It’s all that respect thing but I want us to get a good result.”
Taylor, 31, has been impressed by the way Benitez has turned things round on Tyneside and had no hesitation in singling out midfielder Jonjo Shelvey as the man who makes them tick.
He added: “Shelvey is talked about quite a bit and is a big part of their game plan, coming deep with the ball, getting on the angle and looking for his diagonals.
“Rafa will want him on the ball as much as possible. I went up there for about a week and watched a couple of training sessions.
“I could see how Rafa does his 11 v 11s and the set-up he’s got is that they try to counter the counter. They want to suck teams on to them because of the ability they have, especially Jonjo’s passing. It will cut through any side in the Championship.
“They have the crossing ability of Matt Ritchie and he’s come up with a few goals as well, which has helped.
“Obviously there’s also Dwight Gayle, whose record speaks for itself. He’s a clinical finisher but I know he’s had an injury and I don’t think he will play.
“When Murph [Daryl Murphy] has played this season he has been outstanding. He didn’t play as much when he first signed, which surprised me as I saw him here before and knew how well he had done.
“The lads speak very highly of him and it’s going to be a big day for him to play against us back at Portman Road.
“It’s going to be a tough game for both sides. I’ve spoken to a couple of their players – I’m not going to mention who – and they are a bit nervous because they’ve seen that we’ve been getting a few draws against big sides. We’ve made a good go of it and we should have probably beaten Brighton down there.”
Taylor was used to capacity crowds during his time on Tyneside and believes a bigger-than-average attendance at Portman Road today will turn up the volume.
He said: “Football is like a religion in that part of the world and you’ll see the best atmosphere at Portman Road, I think, ever. It will be unbelievable, electric.
“The Newcastle fans will be going crazy and you’ll probably hear them – the barmy army – for 90-odd minutes. It will be good to hear them because in some games at Portman Road the atmosphere isn’t as loud from the away fans.”
Apart from Murphy, who left in a £3 million deal in August last year, ex-Town loanee Jack Colback will also be in the visitors’ squad. Colback was brought to Portman Road by then manager Roy Keane, who knew him from his time in charge at Sunderland.
Taylor laughed: “Jack took the pressure right off me when he left Sunderland for Newcastle, so I thank him for that. I’ve always had stick from the Sunderland fans and we’ve always had a good rivalry. We had a nice little thing going.
“It’s like the passion between Ipswich and Norwich down here. It’s the kind of rivalry that you want and I think it’s healthy for the fans and everybody.
“But Jack did well for Ipswich and left on good terms so he should get a good reception. He’s flying up there and been consistent as well.”
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