Steve McClaren insists Steven Taylor is in Newcastle United’s plans

Newcastle's Steven Taylor celebrates his goal during the Barclays Premier League match at St James' Park, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday January 1, 2015. See PA story SOCCER Newcastle. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire. Editorial use only. Maximum 45 images during a match. No video emulation or promotion as 'live'. No use in games, competitions, merchandise, betting or single club/player services. No use with unofficial audio, video, data, fixtures or club/league logos.
Newcastle's Steven Taylor celebrates his goal during the Barclays Premier League match at St James' Park, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday January 1, 2015. See PA story SOCCER Newcastle. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire. Editorial use only. Maximum 45 images during a match. No video emulation or promotion as 'live'. No use in games, competitions, merchandise, betting or single club/player services. No use with unofficial audio, video, data, fixtures or club/league logos.
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Steve McClaren says Steven Taylor is firmly in his plans – despite axing him for the club’s season-opener.

Chancel Mbemba was preferred to Taylor at centre-half for last weekend’s game Premier League against Southampton, which ended 2-2.

Keep him fit, tremendous

Steve McClaren

Mbemba, signed from Anderlecht last month, was paired with captain Fabricio Coloccini, who missed all of the club’s pre-season games with an Achilles problem.

Long-serving Taylor is looking to put the injury problems which have blighted him in recent years behind him.

The 29-year-old is fully fit, having recovered from a ruptured Achilles tendon.

And head coach McClaren – who gave Taylor an England call-up during his time in charge of the national team – feels his “old school” defending will be important to his new-look Newcastle side, who take on Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.

Asked about his importance to United, McClaren said: “Keep him fit, tremendous.

“He’s come back and I don’t think he’s missed many days training. We’re easing him in.

“I like Steven – I’ve known him from a young kid ... great enthusiasm, a true defender of the old school.”

McClaren – who has been drawing on the experience of what he has called a “senior leadership group at United – also believes Taylor is an important figure off the pitch.

The centre-half

“He’s a leader,” said McClaren. “He’s very vocal, very passionate about the shirt, and (that’s) something you want in the dressing room, and especially somebody you want fit.”