STEVEN Taylor says he’s as committed as ever to Newcastle United – a decade after making his first-team debut.
The defender is now one of the club’s longest-serving players.
Taylor has experienced a rollercoaster 10 years at St James’s Park since making his debut as a raw teenager against Real Mallorca.
And the 27-year-old was as frustrated as any in Alan Pardew’s squad at last season’s disappointing campaign, which saw United struggle near the foot of the Premier League.
While ambitious Taylor is desperate to win silverware in his career – and represent England – he feels those aims can be achieved at the club he supported as a boy.
“I’m happy here,” said the former England Under-21 captain. “Playing for Newcastle United’s always been a dream, and still is.
“I was at the School of Excellence from the age of nine – it’s my club.”
One constant throughout Taylor’s first-team career, as previously during his time as a supporter, has been criticism aimed at the back four.
And he admits there is intense pressure on the club’s defenders.
“Every season I can remember Newcastle’s defence has been criticised,” said Taylor.
“It’s something you have to get used to.”
Meanwhile, Pardew has revealed a number of senior players will feature in the club’s pre-season friendly at St Mirren on July 30.
The fixture was announced as a warm-up game for the club’s development squad. But Pardew will send a strong side to St Mirren Park, just as he did for last year’s friendly against Hartlepool United.
“We thought the Hartlepool game worked well last year,” Pardew told the club’s official website.
“It was a chance for us to ease people like Hatem (Ben Arfa), who had been involved in the European Championships, back into the fold, and it was probably one of our best performances of pre-season.
“Sylvain Marveaux got a couple of goals, and Shola Ameobi, Haris Vuckic and Gabriel Obertan all scored.
“By the time the St Mirren game comes around, I’ll be starting to formulate my team for the first league match of the season, and I see this friendly as an opportunity for some players to try and force their way into my thinking.
“So there’ll be a nice mixture for that one. It’s a Scottish Premier League team we’re facing, and we’re expecting a good game there.”