Newcastle: Steven Taylor Must Stay Fit to Finally Achieve His Full Potential

Aaron GalesCorrespondent IIJanuary 31, 2013

Steven Taylor made a welcome return against Aston Villa
Steven Taylor made a welcome return against Aston VillaIan Walton/Getty Images

One of the many positives of Newcastle United's win over Aston Villa Tuesday night was the return to the starting 11 of centre-back Steven Taylor.

His return after yet another period out of the side with injury is a massive boost to Alan Pardew, as Newcastle have struggled to stop leaking goals during their recent poor run of form. He handled Christian Benteke, who has been in fine form for Villa, relatively well.

The only problem Taylor has is his ability to stay fit for long periods of time. When he first broke into the first team at the tender age of 17, he showed all the attributes needed to be a top-quality centre half. He could tackle, was strong in the air and there was a maturity in his performances that belied his tender years.

The fact that he was a Newcastle United supporter himself further endeared him to the fans.

After making an impressive 44 appearances in his first full season for the club, the injuries started. First, it was shoulder problems that kept him out of the side for prolonged periods before a number of niggles kept him out for shorter periods of time.

Since Newcastle were relegated from the Premier League in 2009, he has made 23, 14 and 15 appearances in the three subsequent seasons. His total this season stands at 16 appearances. Having just turned 27 years old, Taylor should be reaching the prime years of his career. He has the potential, if he stays fit, to play for England, too.

Right now, Newcastle and Pardew need him more than ever. Newcastle are a better side with him in the team, and he can provide some of the leadership that has been so sorely lacking at the club this season.