STEVEN TAYLOR has been handed a boost amid his latest injury setback after Stuart Pearce refused to write off his chances of playing for England.
The 25-year-old ruptured an Achilles tendon during Saturday’s 3-0 home defeat by Chelsea and, following surgery on Monday is likely to miss the rest of the season. The blow is particularly devastating for the Tyneside-raised defender as he had been in the best form of his career.
However, citing his “great confidence in a great leader”, Pearce – speaking before Saturday – insists there is no reason why former England under-21 captain Taylor cannot one day make the step up to the senior side.
He said: “I had a great deal of confidence in Steven, he was a great leader for us when he played for the under-21s.
“He has really been on the up again.
“If you turn the clock back two years he had waned a little bit and this season he has gone up again. That happens with young players.
“He has a great deal of experience. He has played the games, he has been playing in a team which is doing well and it has benefited him to play alongside (Fabricio) Coloccini, the same defender, in all of the games. I am pleased for him. He is a really likeable lad.
“Whatever is in front of him, who knows. We are strong at senior level at central defence, but three years ago he was keeping Gary Cahill out of the team at under-21s level.
“Now Cahill is in the senior team and Steven has only just this year won his place back for Newcastle.
“Things can turn around quickly and Steven will know that.”
Next summer’s European Championships will come too soon for Taylor to challenge for a place in Fabio Capello’s squad, given he will have spent the previous six months on the sidelines.