STING IN THE TAYL
Pearce: Injury could spell disaster for defender’s Euro dream
STUART PEARCE reckons Steven Taylor’s nightmare injury lay-off could have cost him a place at the Euro 2012 finals.
The unlucky Toon defender is out for the rest of the season after surgery on an Achilles injury picked up in the 3-0 Premier League defeat by Chelsea.
Taylor has been in sparkling form alongside pal Fabricio Coloccini this season and has played a major role in the Geordies’ stunning start to the campaign.
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew insisted the 25-yearold was ready for an England call after being on the fringes of the Three Lions squad in the past.
Under-21 boss Pearce made Taylor a mainstay of his side and believes Fabio Capello could have done a lot worse than take a look at the no-nonsense centre-back.
But that’s all gone up in smoke after Taylor’s injury robbed him of a chance to make a late push for next summer’s Euro finals in Poland and Urkaine.
Pearce insisted: “I had a great deal of confidence in Steven. He was a great leader for us when he played for the Under-21s.
“He’s really been on the up again. He’s been playing in a team that’s doing well and he’s taken a lot on board from playing with Coloccini.
“Whatever is in front of him, who knows? We’re strong at senior level in central defence, but three years ago he was keeping Gary Cahill out of the team at Under-21s. Now Cahill is in the senior team.
“It shows how things can turn around quickly, and Steven knows that.” Toon boss Pardew is set to launch a raid for Sebastien Bassong in a bid to ease his defensive crisis.
Pardew wants the former Magpies defender back at St James’ Park on loan as he looks to plug the gap left by crocked duo Taylor and Coloccini.
Skipper Coloccini is set to miss at least a month with a thigh problem and, with back-up Mike Williamson still at least three weeks from a return after suffering ankle ligament damage, Pardew wants Bassong to cover on a short-term deal in January.
The Cameroon centre-back was a massive hit in his single
season on Tyneside, scooping the Player of the Year award after his bargain £600,000 move from French side Metz.
But the 25-year-old has struggled to hold down a regular first team place since leaving the Geordies for White Hart Lane in an £8million deal two-and-a-half years ago.
Pardew will ask Spurs boss Harry Redknapp to do him a favour by giving the green light to an initial month-long loan next month.
Bassong has again been frozen out after starting just seven league games last season. He admitted: “I feel I’ve gone backwards. I want to play week in, week out.
“I’m at an age where I have to play. I’d never just sit there and take the money.”
There was one piece of good news for Pardew ahead of Saturday’s trip to Norwich, with key midfielder Cheik Tiote set to return to training.
The Ivory Coast star has missed the last six games with a knee problem which it was feared would need surgery.
But the 25-year-old is ready to make his comeback after escaping going under the knife, and has an outside chance of figuring at Carrow Road.
BASS FISHING: Alan Pardew is hoping to snare Spurs’ Sebastien Bassong on a loan deal