Odisha FC the Next Stop in Steven Taylor’s Fabled Footballing Career
In his first interview since joining Odisha FC, Steven Taylor spoke about Stuart Baxter’s role in convincing him to join the Indian Super League (ISL) club. “His plans for the season and the club was exciting so it was a no-brainer after speaking with him that I would be joining Odisha FC,” says the former Newcastle United star.
Snapping up the 34-year-old could prove to be an astute piece of business by the Bhubaneswar-based club as the experienced defender will bring some much-needed maturity to an otherwise young squad. The club have signed a host of exciting players but none with Taylor’s calibre. His experience of playing in the world’s biggest leagues including the Premier League in England will certainly add an extra dimension to Odisha FC’s game.
Taylor played as a striker in his youth days before joining the famed Newcastle United youth academy where he was converted into a defender. He played a key role in helping Newcastle secure the Premier Academy League U17 title. That was just the beginning of all the success he would go on to achieve in his decorated career.
The 2006-07 Premier League season is often regarded as the breakthrough season for Taylor. His famous celebration, running the whole length of the pitch after scoring his first senior goal against Celta Vigo in a UEFA cup tie, earned him the nickname of Forrest Gump. He started featuring more regularly for the club since then and even attracted interest from biggies like Manchester City and Everton. However, Taylor chose to not put in a transfer request and stay at Newcastle, even though the club got relegated from the Premier League in the 2008-09 season.
Taylor soon went on to cement his place in the team alongside Fabricio Coloccini and strong performances from their star players saw Newcastle earn a direct promotion back to the Premier League after just a year’s absence. The Englishman enjoyed a regular place in the team thereon until June 2016 when he parted ways with the club.
He travelled around the world playing for Portland Timbers, Ipswich Town, Peterborough United and Wellington Phoenix from 2016 to 2020.
His next stop – Odisha FC in the ISL will provide him with a fresh challenge. Taylor is excited to link up with his fellow compatriot and coach Stuart Baxter. “Speaking with the manager Stuart Baxter and his plans moving forward with Odisha FC made my decision very easy,” he told the OFC media team.
“You just have to look at his CV and see his experience. I was the England U17 team’s captain and he was the Manager of the England U-19. Looking forward to working with him in India and it’s going to be good to learn from him from his experiences because you are never too old to learn,” he added.
The London-born player is now looking forward to linking up with his teammates, hoping to take a number of young Indian players under his wing, guiding them to get the best out of themselves.
“We have a very young and exciting squad with ambitions to have an exciting season ahead. A lot of up and coming new Indian talents are a part of the club so it will be good to see them express themselves this season and for us to do something special. Will be speaking and working with the young Indian players trying to pass on my experience, values and leadership skills on to them to bring the best out of them,” Taylor said.