Steven Taylor: Baxter’s plans for Odisha made my decision to join easy

Odisha FC recently secured the services of defender Steven Taylor ahead of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 and in his first interview with the club’s media team, the Englishman admitted that he's excited about the challenge of playing in the Hero ISL.

“Excited for the challenge ahead playing in the ISL. It’s getting better every year with the top quality players that are coming to the ISL and of course, I have played with a lot of players who have played in the ISL and speaking to them they all loved playing out in India,” the defender said.

Taylor is an experienced campaigner, having represented English side Newcastle United for over a decade. During his career, the 34-year-old defender enjoyed stints in America and the Australian A-League as well, captaining Wellington Phoenix to a third-place finish last season. Taylor has also played for the England team at youth tournaments and was part of the England-B team. 

He is familiar with Odisha’s new head coach Stuart Baxter from his time at youth level with England and pointed at the 67-year-old’s CV while discussing the experience that he brings to the club. “You just have to look at his CV and see his experience. I was the England U-17 team’s captain and he was manager of the England U-19. Looking forward to working with him in India and it’s going to be good to learn from him, from his experiences because you are never too old to learn,” Taylor shared.

The centre-back went on to reveal how his new head coach influenced his decision to join the Bhubaneswar-based club. “Speaking with the manager Stuart Baxter and his plans moving forward with Odisha FC made my decision very easy. His plans for the season and the club was exciting so it was a no-brainer after speaking with him that I would be joining Odisha FC,” Taylor explained.

Odisha have signed a number of young talents to complement the experienced heads in the team and Taylor is looking forward to interacting with the youngsters. “We have a very young and exciting squad with ambitions. A lot of up and coming Indian talents are a part of the club so it will be good to see them express themselves this season. I will be speaking and working with the young Indian players, trying to pass on my experience, values and leadership skills on to them to bring the best out of them,” Taylor said.

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