RYAN Taylor is eyeing a fresh start at St James’s Park after admitting the turmoil that engulfed Newcastle United after his January move made it difficult to impress.
His Newcastle career may only be six months old but the former Wigan Athletic man has already played under three managers at St James’s Park – and Taylor admits that has been “unsettling” as he tried to nail down a regular starting role.
And while he does not regret swapping the North West for the North East, he knows that he is yet to perform at his best in black and white.
He is committed to helping the club out of the Championship and believes that shedding his ‘Mr Versatility’ tag – and concentrating his efforts on becoming a specialist right-back – will help him realise his potential.
The 25-year-old (right) was a Joe Kinnear signing but the manager who signed him lasted just a few weeks before being replaced by interim boss Chris Hughton, who seemed unsure about where to play Taylor.
He played a handful of games under Alan Shearer but suffered like the rest of the squad from flat-lining confidence as United came up short in their bid for Premier League safety.
A new season means a new start and Taylor believes there is better to come.
“I’ve been here five or six months and I’ve had three different managers – that speaks for itself. Not only does it unsettle you, it unsettles everyone at the club,” he admitted.
“It’s not nice going into games not knowing who’s in charge from one week to the next. Last season, in my case, was quite tough. I came here when the whole place was up in arms about what was going on behind the scenes.
“But this season is a new start and we can’t wait to show everyone what a good team we really are.”
In order to become the club’s first-choice right-back he will have to oust Habib Beye – if the Senegal defender sticks around long enough to see in the new season.
Beye is attracting interest from Portsmouth and Greek side
Panathinaikos and has made it known that he is looking to move on from the chaos at Newcastle United.
His hopes of doing that may be affected by an unofficial transfer ‘embargo’ enforced by the United hierarchy.
But a focused Taylor would be in pole position to take over if Beye did depart – and reverting to a defensive role would suit him.
“My aim is to be the club’s first-choice right-back. It’s going to be difficult because of the quality in the squad but I’m nearly 25 years old and I’ve realised I want to settle down in one position.
“I’ve played in numerous roles in the past – left midfield, right midfield.
“I’ll do it but I want one position only and that is right-back – and I’ll do everything I can to force the manager to force my way into the team.
“All of the managers I’ve played under at Newcastle have their own opinions of where I’m best. I want them to see the player I was when I was 18-19, growing up as a right-back, that’s my best spot.
“I’ve never been in a settled position since I came here whereas if you get ten games under your belt you become settled and understand your role much better.”
Meanwhile, United fans will make their feelings known when Alan Shearer returns to St James’s Park this weekend for Sir Bobby Robson’s charity match tomorrow.
Despite an admission by friend Rob Lee that Shearer is “frustrated”, the legendary United number nine is still as determined as ever to regain control at St James’s Park.
And the reaction of the large number of Newcastle fans expected to pack the stadium will help hammer home the fact that he is the majority choice to take over.