STEVEN Taylor will be handed the captain’s armband against Swansea – as a reward for his leadership skills.
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew will be without skipper Fabricio Coloccini and vice-captain Jonas Gutierrez at St James’s Park tomorrow.
And Taylor, an increasnigly influential figure in the dressing room, will lead the club out in a Premier League game for the first time in his career.
Pardew believes the 26-year-old – who captained England at Under-21 level – is maturing as a footballer, and his leadership qualities will be needed as Newcastle look to put last weekend’s defeat to West Ham United behind them.
“There’s no Jonas or no Colo, and Steven will be captain,” Pardew told the Gazette.
“Regardless of Shola (Ameobi) playing or not, it’s time for Steven to step up.
“He’s matured and has been great around the group. I want to reward him for that.
“He’s a local lad, and it’ll fill him and his family with pride. So I am looking forward to him having it.”
Taylor’s career has been beset by injuries in recent seasons, and Pardew’s hopeful the defender can stay fit this season and prosper for Newcastle – and possibly England.
He has only been called up once into the senior squad – by Steve McClaren in August 2007 – but hasn’t been involved since because of a wretched run of injuries.
“Steven’s a good enough player to carry that armband,” added Pardew.
“The only problem he’s had with England, and with us, is injuries. It’s important he stays fit now.
“He’s got this reward for what he’s done for the club since I have been here, and I’m sure he’ll be very proud.”
Meanwhile, it was Australian day at the club’s canteen yesterday, and Taylor and his team-mates took part in Bustucker Trials, much like those in the TV shot I’m A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!
United regularly host themed days at the training ground.