Peter Lovenkrands has urged England manager Fabio Capello to give Newcastle centre-half Steven Taylor an opportunity to prove himself at international level.

Taylor has been an integral part of a Newcastle side that has conceded less goals than any other Premier League team this season, impressing with a series of composed and committed displays.

The 25-year-old has never played at senior international level, but was a regular with the Under-21s and was called into the full England squad for 2007's friendly with Germany, only to fail to make it onto the pitch.

He will not be involved when England take on Montenegro in their final Euro 2012 qualifying game on Friday, with Capello preferring John Terry, Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka and Phil Jones in the absence of the injured Rio Ferdinand.

But with Ferdinand and Terry's international days coming to an end, Lovenkrands feels Taylor should be part of the new crop of defenders that is beginning to emerge.

"Steven has been superb for us this season," said the former Denmark international. "He's a pain in the you-know-what to train against, but he's fantastic.

"I always play against him in training and he's not a nice guy to be up against. He carries that onto the pitch and has been great for us so far.

"I really think Capello should look at him. He's a fantastic defender and I really hope he gets his chance."

Lovenkrands knows all about being overlooked as he was back on the substitutes' bench for Newcastle's last two league games despite bagging a brace in the Carling Cup third-round win over Nottingham Forest.

The former Rangers striker pushed his credentials in last night's reserves game at Bolton, but admits it is hard to be too critical about Alan Pardew's first-team selections when the Magpies are unbeaten in all nine of their matches this term.

"That's just the way it is," he said. "Even though I did well (at Nottingham Forest), I knew I probably wasn't going to start on the Saturday because the other two (Leon Best and Demba Ba) had done fantastic.

"You just need to wait for your chance and when it comes try to take it as best you can. It's not the first time I've been in this situation so I know what to do. I hope if I get my chance again, I'll grab it like I normally do.

"I've proved what I can do, so I know if I'm called upon, I'm ready. But I'm just trying to concentrate as much as I can on the team. If we get three points, it doesn't matter who plays."

While Lovenkrands was involved in last night's game at Leyland, Hatem Ben Arfa was a surprise omission.

The French midfielder had been expected to play as he looks to build up his fitness following his return from knee and ankle injuries, but Newcastle have given him compassionate leave to visit an ill family member in Tunisia.

There were suggestions that Ben Arfa had been reluctant to turn out for the second string, but these were refuted by a club official.

In the Frenchman's absence, a strong Newcastle second string ran out comfortable 3-0 winners in front of an onlooking Pardew.

The Magpies opened the scoring in the 23rd minute when Dan Gosling, who has been linked with a possible short-term loan move away from St James' Park, teed up Sammy Ameobi to claim his second reserves goal of the season.

Sylvain Marveaux doubled the visitors' lead with a fine run and finish shortly before the hour mark, and the Frenchman completed a brace when he converted Shane Ferguson's left-wing cross shortly after.

Steve Harper, James Perch, Danny Guthrie and Peter Lovenkrands were also involved as Pardew ran the rule over the fringe members of his squad ahead of the visit of Tottenham a week on Sunday.

NEWCASTLE: Harper, Streete, Ferguson, Henderson, Perch, Sammy Ameobi (Inman 80), Guthrie (McDermott 56), Gosling, Marveaux, Richardson (Hooper 75), Lovenkrands.