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Page last updated at 11:17 GMT, Monday, 27 December 2010

Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor signs new deal

Steven Taylor looks to close down Didier Drogba
Taylor (left) made an impressive return to the side after a shoulder injury in the 1-1 draw with Chelsea in November.

Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor has signed a new five and a half year deal with the club.

The 24-year-old was out of contract next summer, having rejected a previous offer, but has now tied himself to the club until the summer of 2016.

"I joined the club as a boy and feel confident that I can fulfil all my professional ambitions here at my hometown club," said Taylor.

"I have never lost hope that everything could be sorted and that I could stay."

Taylor, who has made 177 appearances for the Magpies since joining the club as a schoolboy, has missed much of the season with a shoulder injury. But he returned to action against Chelsea in November and has been an ever present since.

"I would like to thank the fans for their support throughout the contract negotiations," said Taylor. "I'll look to repay them with my performances in the black and white shirt.

I've always really admired Steven Taylor and I thought it was imperative that we kept him here

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew

"Also I have to thank Chris Hughton for bringing me back into the team, Alan Pardew, who made it clear from day one that he wanted me to stay at the club, the board and management for their willingness to work together to find an agreement, and finally my agent Paul Stretford for always having my best interests at heart."

Tieing Taylor to the club represents progress for Pardew, who spoke of his desire to retain players such as Taylor, Joey Barton and Andy Carroll ahead of the January transfer window.

"I've always really admired Steven Taylor and I thought it was imperative that we kept him here," said Pardew. "He's still young, he's a Geordie and he's a top defender.

"He's played a lot of games for somebody his age, played in Europe and captained his country at Under-21 level. That says everything you need to know about him.

"Steven is somebody who can be a bedrock of our defence for a long time to come, and it's great news that he's staying. I made it one of my priorities when I arrived."

Benny's Got Talent

The Greenwich-born player, who grew up in Whitley Bay, was handed his debut by the late Sir Bobby Robson in Mallorca in March 2004, after impressing while on loan at Wycombe Wanderers.

He continued his progress the following season, despite Robson's departure, and became fixture in the side under Graeme Souness, Glenn Roeder, Sam Allardyce and Kevin Keegan as the Magpies chopped and changed managers.

Taylor was in the squad that suffered relegation from the Premier League in 2009, when three different managers, Keegan, Joe Kinnear and Alan Shearer, were at the helm.

But knee and shoulder injuries stifled Taylor's involvement in helping the club back into the top flight under Hughton. And he was also involved in an alleged row with team-mate Andy Carroll in March 2010, which led to Taylor being taken to hospital for treatment.

Preparations for this season were hampered when Taylor suffered a shoulder injury against Carlisle in July, and injury and the form of team-mates Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson kept Taylor out of the side until the trip to Chelsea, when he and summer signing Sol Campbell made their first league starts.

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