Ryan Tay­lor is re­build­ing his body as well as his ca­reer in League One

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE: - By Char­lie Ben­nett

IT MAY be four and a half years since Ryan Tay­lor suf­fered the in­jury which threat­ened to end his ca­reer, but it is only now that the mid­fielder feels he is get­ting back to his best.

The 32-year-old picked up a cru­ci­ate lig­a­ment knee in­jury in Au­gust 2012 while play­ing for New­cas­tle United in the Europa League, and a re­peat of the prob­lem eight months later kept him out un­til Oc­to­ber 2014.

New­cas­tle re­leased Tay­lor at the end of that sea­son, prompt­ing a move to Hull City, where he made just 12 ap­pear­ances in an un­happy one-year spell.


With clubs re­fus­ing to take a punt on him last sum­mer, Tay­lor was forced to wait un­til Oc­to­ber and move down to League One when Michael Brown, then Port Vale as­sis­tant boss and cur­rent care­taker man­ager, of­fered him a three-month deal.

“But he has not looked back since, scor­ing three times in his first ten games, de­spite Vale’s strug­gles.

Tay­lor ad­mits the last four years have been tough but, with reg­u­lar foot­ball on of­fer at Vale Park and the chance to re­unite with ex-Wi­gan team­mate Brown, he is just happy to be back on a foot­ball pitch week in week out, to prove what he is ca­pa­ble of.

“It was tough to ac­cept that I was not signed with any­one, but I think clubs thought I was quite risky,” he said. “Deep down I knew had no is­sues with play­ing games, be­cause the in­juries I had don’t af­fect my fu­ture. But clubs were think­ing they had not seen much of me and were opt­ing for some­one else. “In the sum­mer, I was tar­get­ing only Cham­pi­onship clubs but kept get­ting the same an­swers. “I just needed a chance to play. Ev­ery­thing with Vale hap­pened re­ally quickly. I made a de­ci­sion just the day af­ter they rang.” Tay­lor thought he was off to Wi­gan Ath­letic last sum­mer. He’d en­joyed a four-year spell there from 2005-09, but the man­ager at the time, Gary Cald­well, even­tu­ally chose not to take him, be­fore Vale ended his long wait. His con­tract ex­pires on Jan­uary 21, when he hopes some Cham­pi­onship clubs show in­ter­est. But, now he is play­ing again, any­thing is pos­si­ble. “In pre-sea­son I started off just train­ing with Alan Stubbs at Rother­ham, so that I was fit and raring to go when some­thing came along,” he added. “I was there for a week and then Wi­gan rang and asked me to leave Rother­ham and go and train for a week, play a game and sign a con­tract. “I was so happy. It was a chance to go back home to a club I knew. I played a cou­ple of games for them and did OK, but then Gary turned around and told me the com­plete op­po­site of what he’d told me on the phone.

“I was on my way to Poland with Rother­ham for a pre-sea­son tour­na­ment, but Gary con­vinced me to turn my car around and head to Wi­gan. Ten days later, I was binned.

“That re­ally hurt. All I could think was ‘how can peo­ple do this? This is peo­ple’s lives’.

“You can’t say some­thing on the phone, get me to come over from Rother­ham for ten days and then com­pletely do the op­po­site of what he ini­tially said.


“I did not feel like push­ing my agent to find a club, I needed a week off. Luck­ily, I went to Pre­ston to train and loved it there. I could have stayed un­til Jan­uary in the hope of get­ting a con­tract, but I knew I needed games.

“I saw the play­ers get­ting ready for matches on Fri­days and I de­cided I needed to get that feel­ing back on a Satur­day morn­ing – know­ing I was go­ing to put my boots on.”

That feel­ing seemed a long way off dur­ing his 26-month in­jury lay­off at New­cas­tle, but Tay­lor in­sists he has many years left in him and this is just the sec­ond phase of his ca­reer.

“I have con­fi­dence in my own abil­ity, so I knew I would play again. It was just a mat­ter of where and when.

“I feel like I have loads to of­fer be­cause of the amount of time I have missed,” he added.

“Even though I am 32, I have not done the mileage of peo­ple my age. I feel like I have got tons to give.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

FIT CLUB: Alan Stubbs in­vited him to train and stay fit with Rother­ham OLD ROU­TINE: Vale’s Ryan Tay­lor, bot­tom, in ac­tion against Ash­ley Hunter of Fleet­wood

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