I’ll hold my hands up to being a bit hard on Ryan Taylor in the past. In my view he just wasn’t good enough, but to his credit he is proving me wrong.
To be fair he started proving me wrong last season and showed that he is capable of contributing to our first team, not only with assists but also with goals and some sound defensive displays to boot.
Of course it was his equaliser nearly two weeks ago that gave us a draw in the Europa League qualifier with Atromitos with him unleashing another unstoppable freekick into the Greek net giving us a helping hand through to the group stages of the competition. I get the feeling he would have got plenty more chances to do much the same kind of thing throughout the course of the season what with all the extra games we’ll (hopefully) be playing but unfortunately for Ryan it’s not to be.
An injury to his Achilles means that now the versatile player is out for a non-specific timeframe which thus far has only been described as “months” by Alan Pardew giving myself some time to reflect on my changing opinion of Ryan Taylor.
Whilst are quick to heap praise on the likes of Hatem Ben Arfa, Yohan Cabaye, Cheik Tiote, Tim Krul and the two Demba’s, for me it’s players like Ryan Taylor who have played the larger part on our semi-success over the last two seasons. A versatile player who will try his hand at any role given, Taylor is one of a number of player who have come in and done well when called upon, yet haven’t moaned once when they’ve been overlooked.
In a way the success of players like Taylor, and even James Perch, has made our squad look deeper than it actually is. They are dependable back up to the first team and it’s only now, now we are going to be missing him for quite some time, that it becomes apparent.
I never quite thought I would see the day where I start to worry about an injury to Taylor, but that day is now. Losing him is like losing three extra backup players and I only hope our lack of signing reinforcements over the summer won’t come back to bite us on the behind thanks to an unfortunate yet unavoidable injury to one our most versatile members of the squad.
The rest of the squad said all they had to say prior to the match on Sunday when they revealed their “over the wall” tribute t-shirts to the former Tranmere and Wigan man. Not only is he held in high regard these days by myself, but it also seems he is held in high regard by his peers who saw fit to honour him like that in the face of such bad news.
Here’s to a speedy and hassle free recovery for Ryan Taylor!