Ex-Geordie Taylor joins A-League's Phoenix

Daniel Gilhooly

Wellington Phoenix coach Mark Rudan believes the signature of one-time Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor will create a snowball effect for the A-League club.

A veteran of 194 English Premier League appearances, Taylor brings a wealth of experience and professionalism to the Phoenix.

The 32-year-old is Rudan's first player-signing since being unveiled as coach six weeks ago, following through with a promise to set his sights high with player recruitment.

He expects Taylor's signature will make the club instantly more attractive to other high-profile players.

"It makes it easier for the next ones," Rudan said on Tuesday.

"Steven is a significant signing for the football club in what we are trying to create.

"We take our time with our signings, especially the visa spots. We want good leaders and we want to improve the level of professionalism at this club."

A former England under-21 captain, Taylor never played at senior level for his country. However, he did make one appearance for England B.

He enjoyed a career with Newcastle United from 2003-2016, with all but one of them being in the EPL where he forged a reputation as an industrious and reliable defender.

Taylor had brief stints with Major League Soccer club Portland Timbers and English Championship club Ipswich Town before under-taking a 50-match season with third-tier English outfit Peterborough United.

A chat with Newcastle Jets' former English striker Michael Bridges convinced him the Phoenix, and the A-League, were an ideal destination.

"It's just got better and better, the quality of players out here now," Taylor said.

"It's going to be difficult for the likes of myself because there are attackers of high quality."

The central defender enjoyed his experience in New Zealand four years ago when Newcastle Utd played pre-season matches in Dunedin (Sydney FC) and in front of a near-full house in Wellington (Phoenix).

"Playing against the Phoenix in 2014 was a big thing. It was a great game for us, we should have actually got beat in that game."

Taylor will begin training this week with his debut likely to be against Bentleigh Greens in their first round FFA Cup match in Melbourne next month.