Whilst the play of James Perch and Mike Williamson was admirable in Taylor’s absence, there is no doubt that the defence struggled without the big Geordie in the middle, and it showed.
After having the league’s best defence in the first few months of the season, Newcastle went on to concede five goals in not one, but two games, against Fulham and Tottenham, and eventually carved out more of an offensive identity to compensate for this as the season went on.
With Taylor returning for the 2012-13 season, the former England U21 player will act as a new signing for the Magpies, and more importantly will help Newcastle to build a more well-rounded starting XI.
If Newcastle can add a quality right-back like Mathieu Debuchy to go along with the returning Taylor, their defence will suddenly start to look like that dominating unit from early last season, which could really change things as they look to qualify for the Champions League.
An improved back four could be the difference that puts Newcastle ahead of a more attacking team like Arsenal next season, and Taylor’s comeback will be a huge part of this.
That said, the impact of Taylor’s return to action may not necessarily be felt in its full force quite so early on, as Newcastle assistant John Carver told the BBC that the club plans to nurture him following his Achilles tendon injury.
Considering his injury history, its fair enough for the Newcastle staff to be cautious this time round, and it could pay off by making sure that this injury doesn’t recur or linger during the season.
Here’s exactly what Carver had to say about the situation:
“Steven is itching but we’re going to be careful, the manager won’t stick him in until he’s ready and the medical staff say he’s OK and ready to play. He’s come back in great condition and looks as though he’s raring to go. He’s so enthusiastic, he’s desperate to do well for this football club, but we’ve waited this long for him to return so we might as well wait until he’s fully ready.”
Exactly how much playing time will be lost with Newcastle waiting for Taylor’s full recovery is not yet known, but fans can only hope that it won’t be long before they once again see Taylor returning to his rightful place in the heart of a solid defence.