Steven Taylor makes Newcastle United comeback

RETURNING: Steven Taylor

RETURNING: Steven Taylor

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STEVEN Taylor makes his long-awaited comeback determined to be ready to fight on two fronts for Newcastle United.

Taylor made his debut in European competition more than eight years ago.

And the defender – who has been out since December after rupturing his Achilles – is relishing the club’s return to the continent.

Taylor is set to be involved tonight’s friendly against Olympiakos on Portugal’s Algarve (kick-off 8.45pm) after successfully returning to training last week in Germany from a brief spell out with a hamstring problem.

The 26-year-old has reported no ill-effects since rejoining his team-mates on the practice field, and is expected to be named on the bench at the Algarve Stadium.

“I can’t wait to get out there and get started again – I’ve missed it so much,” Taylor said.

“Everything’s going well. I’m just looking forward to getting out there.”

A two-legged Europa League qualifier next month stands between Newcastle and a place in the group stage of the competition.

Taylor came off the bench away to Real Mallorca to make his United debut under Sir Bobby Robson in March 2004 and in the club regularly competed on the continent in the early part of his first-team career.

“We’re back in Europe and that’s where it started off against Real Mallorca,” said the former England Under-21 captain.

“It’s been a rollercoaster since then. We had runs in the cups and relegation. It’s good to get back into European competition again.

“It was expected that Newcastle would be in Europe every year, but it didn’t happen for five years.

“Things went downhill, but we’ve turned it round.”

SEE Friday’s Mail for full story