Steven Taylor

By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor

 

Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor has been called into the England squad for Friday's World Cup qualifier against San Marino.

The centre-back's inclusion comes after Gary Cahill was ruled out of the match, although the Chelsea man will be reassessed later in the week with a view to taking part in the second of England's qualifiers, against Montenegro next Tuesday.

Taylor, aged 27, has been in outstanding form at the heart of the Magpies' rearguard over the last two seasons and has been rewarded for his displays with the opportunity to earn a first senior cap.

The Academy product has represented England at Under 16, Under 17, Under 20, Under 21 and B level, and was named in the senior squad in August 2007 for a friendly against Germany, although did not get on to the pitch.

Since graduating through the ranks at St. James' Park, Taylor has made 226 first team appearances, scoring 13 goals.

He will join up with his England teammates on Tuesday morning for the squad's first training session, and said: "It's a dream come true.

"I am so happy to have received a call-up to the full squad. It is every player's ambition to represent their country and it is the greatest honour in professional football.

"If I am lucky enough to be given that chance over the next seven days, it will be one of the proudest moments of my playing career."

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew added: "This is a fully deserved call-up for Steven.

"He missed part of the season but since his return has been outstanding.

"He has a great chance, on this form, of going to the World Cup. On behalf of all the squad, staff and supporters, we wish him all the best and hope he is given the chance to win his first senior international cap."

England travel to San Marino on Friday night and will play at the Serravalle Stadium, with an 8pm kick-off