STEVEN Taylor told of pride after skippering Newcastle United to victory over Club Brugge – just four days after being at the centre of a Wear-Tyne storm.
Taylor led the club to a 1-0 win at St James’s Park last night.
Gabriel Obertan’s second-half goal put Newcastle firmly in control of Europa League Group D with three games left to play.
With Fabricio Coloccini and Shola Ameobi on the bench, and Jonas Gutierrez not involved, Taylor was handed the captain’s armband by manager Alan Pardew.
Taylor had only skippered the club from the start once before – at a League Cup tie at Peterborough United three years ago.
And the defender – who captained England’s Under-21s – relished the extra responsibility.“It’s the biggest honour for me,” Taylor told the Gazette. “I’ve waited a long time for it, and I’ll never forget it.
“I’ve taken over the captaincy a lot, and I did it in the League Cup against Peterborough when Chris Hughton was here.
“To start the game with the captain’s armband meant a lot to me. It was a perfect game for us, and I’m delighted with it.
“The main thing was that we won the game, and we’ve got seven points.”
The honour came after Taylor was at the centre of controversy at the Stadium of Light.
Angered by the defender’s pre-match comments, Sunderland fans chanted “Steven Taylor, we wish you were dead” in Sunday’s Wear-Tyne derby.
The 26-year-old suggested none of Martin O’Neill’s players were good enough to play for Newcastle – and added that he’d rather collect stamps than play for the club.
“It was a bit of banter, and I was just happy to be playing again,” said Taylor.
Pardew and O’Neill were critical of the chants, but Taylor has shrugged off the bile directed at him on Wearside.
“I’m only bothered about playing and winning,” he added. “It was good to get back to that.”
United’s win over Brugge saw them go three points clear at the top of Group D after second-placed Bordeaux were held 1-1 by Maritimo in Madeira.
However, Pardew’s side had to work hard for their victory against Georges Leekens’s attack-minded team.
“You can see why they’re top of the Belgian league,” said Taylor.
“I think, performance-wise, we did well. Shane Ferguson and Sammy Ameobi produce in training, and got their opportunities. They did so well. They staked their claims.
“The only way I could see them scoring was on the counter-attack and the fast breakaway, and that’s what they kept doing.
“They were very fast on the counter attack, and they had clever movement.
“You have to take your chances against a side like this, as they’ll punish you. (Carlos) Bacca had a free header at the far post.”
Meanwhile, Pardew said after the game he felt Taylor’s comments before the Sunderland game were “naive”.
“His comments were, in my opinion, a bit naive, but our fans loved it,” said Pardew.
The Gazette’s Europa League coverage is in association with UTS Engineering Ltd. http://www.uts-ltd.com/