Steven Taylor was unfortunate enough to pick up a rather serious injury at the back end of last year, an injury which seen him ruled out for the rest of the campaign.
As things stand now, we actually managed to finish the season off ok without him and, even though Mike Williamson is perhaps not to the taste of everyone, we managed to secure European football thanks to finishing fifth in the Premier League.
However I do sometimes wonder if we could have finished higher had we not lost Taylor to injury. At times Williamson was outstanding but at others he floundered and seemed to lose his confidence a bit. Could we have finished fourth or even third had Taylor stayed fit? Judging by his start to the season you couldn’t rule it out as both he and Fabricio Coloccini played a large part in our stunning unbeaten start to last season.
Like I said though, the Europa League isn’t a bad consolation prize so it’s important not to get too disheartened by it considering the fact that ultimately we beat pretty much all the expectations people had for us before the season kicked off.
What is important now though is making sure Steven Taylor is back to his best and is physically able to put his body on the line. It’s not a mental issue with Taylor as he’ll do it regardless, but the club need to make sure that he won’t damage himself in the process by making sure he is 100% fit over pre-season.
Another important thing for Steven is having an injury free season. All too often we’ve seen his playing time cut short by one injury or another although in fairness they aren’t exactly injuries that concern me. By that I mean that they aren’t injuries in one specific area that indicate a problem with, say, a hamstring for example. Instead they are often impact injuries, such as his shoulder one, or just generally unlucky ones like his latest one.
At 26, Taylor is now approaching what should be the prime of his career and will obviously want to be playing as much as he can be. The goal for him this season should be to avoid any type of long-term injury whilst also maintaining his blood and thunder style of play.
Fingers crossed he can achieve just that!