STEVEN TAYLOR is looking forward to embarking on a “new era” for Newcastle United after the arrival of six new signings in little more than a fortnight helped transform the make-up of the squad at St James’ Park.
Taylor was part of the Magpies squad that flew to New Zealand yesterday ahead of a two-game tour that will feature matches against Sydney FC and Wellington Phoenix.
Remy Cabella, Emmanuel Riviere and Daryl Janmaat will not be involved in the trip, as they only completed their moves to the North-East in the last few days, but Ayoze Perez, Jack Colback and Siem de Jong have all made the long flight Down Under.
The arrival of so many new players has dispelled much of the negativity that built up in the latter stages of last season, and led to renewed hopes of a challenge in the top half of the Premier League table next term.
Taylor is determined to be part of that challenge, despite having been linked with a possible move away from Tyneside at the start of the summer, and as Newcastle’s longest-serving player following the departure of Steve Harper and Shola Ameobi, the 28-year-old is excited to be part of yet another new chapter for the club.
“You are seeing the start of a new era now at Newcastle - and I’ve seen a few eras over the years,” said the centre-half. “That’s what it feels like.
“It is a new start with great signings and you can sense the fans are getting very excited as well. The new players coming have given a lift to the whole city. It is something we needed and it has happened.
“We knew when Yohan Cabaye left that the gaffer would have to bring in some new signings and it has happened now.
“Quite a number of new players have come in and everyone around the club is very excited about the future. We are looking at the new season knowing we have some great signings and we are all looking forward to it.”
In particular, Taylor has been impressed with the impact made by de Jong, who marked his maiden Newcastle appearance with an eye-catching debut goal at Oldham on Tuesday night.
The Dutchman was appointed as one of the Magpies’ two vice-captains (the other is Cheik Tiote) earlier this week, with Alan Pardew clearly valuing the experience he has gained from his four Eredivise titles with Ajax.
His qualities on the field were evident from his influential display against Oldham, with his team-mates having been instantly won over by his attitude and ability on the training ground.
“I’m really excited about some of the new players,” said Taylor. “You see Siem de Jong and straight away you know he is class. If you give him the ball, he will hurt you.
“He gets the ball under control easily and has a look around, which is always the sign of a good player. He has got all the touches and sees passes which other players don’t see. We obviously missed a bit of that last season when Yohan left, so I’ve been very impressed by him.”
Newcastle’s next outing comes against Sydney on Tuesday morning, with Taylor hoping to get as much pre-season game time as possible having made just nine Premier League starts in the whole of last season.
“I’ve never been to New Zealand before, so I’m very much looking forward to getting out there and working with the other players,” he said. “We’ve got a few games out there and we will be knuckling down trying to get as fit as we possibly can ready for the big start.”