Steven Taylor

United defender Steven Taylor is again writing an exclusive blog for this season and having returned from the injury which ruled him out for the second half of last season he looks like he's never been away. Here he gives his views on his own form, the team's start and his memories of being a ball boy...

It's been pretty quiet around our training ground over the last couple of weeks with a few players away on international duty, but for those of us that stayed behind, we've been doing a lot of running as we try and keep up to speed.

When your country comes calling you obviously get the chance to play an extra game or two, but for everyone else it's a chance to keep ticking over, iron out any little niggles and get ready for the next league game.

We've gone from one extreme to the other with having so many games to start our season then nothing for the last fortnight, but the lads have come through it brilliantly.

We knew our schedule at the start of the campaign and I think we've proved a few people wrong. The players and the staff here are pleased with the start we've made, and I think we've done well.

The buzz is there for all to see in the dressing room and you only have to watch one of our training sessions to see what we're about. The team spirit is still as strong as ever and we'll never lose that.

On a personal level, I've surprised myself a bit in terms of my fitness - I'm feeling really good and the Tottenham game four weeks ago gave me a massive confidence boost.

It was my first 90-minute shift in eight months, and having played just beyond the hour mark in some of our pre-season games, it showed that the gaffer had faith in me to throw me straight into a Premier League match.

To be honest, I thought I'd maybe last an hour against Spurs, but I knew I had it in me and the adrenaline that I feel when I step out onto the pitch in front of our own fans is hard to describe - something just happens inside me.

I saw a picture this week that somebody Tweeted, and it was of me as a ball boy at St. James' Park when I was 11-years-old. Even back then I was just dying to get out on the pitch.

I used to sit right behind the goal so I had the best opportunity to get onto the turf. That's the one thing you can't beat - getting out on the pitch - and as a kid I thought that might be the closest I'd ever get.

So I've always had that feeling ever since then and since I made my debut. I didn't feel that bad after the Tottenham game either, as I thought I would be hobbling around like an old man for a few days!

But the ice baths helped and the physios and the medical department have kept me in good nick, like they always do.

We've now got a massive match to look forward to on Monday night and Everton are a team in form. Despite their blip at West Brom two weeks ago, they've started the season really well and with the players they've got, it's going to be a hard game.

They are a hard team to break down, and that's definitely got something to do with their assistant manager, Steve Round. When Roundy was a coach here at Newcastle, he was always big on getting men behind the ball, and alongside the job that David Moyes has done, that has made Goodison Park a tough place to go.

They're very well organised and they stick to their game plan very well, but hopefully, if we play as well as we know we can, then we'll be alright and get something out of it.

One thing I was delighted to be involved in recently was the Pedal for Petrov campaign, where a few of us, including Shola and Mike Williamson as well as the gaffer got on our bikes to support Aston Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov.

It's never nice to see one of your fellow professionals going through something like leukaemia, but he has had great support from all over the world and he's fighting hard.

I spoke to a few of the Villa lads about him after the game the other week and everybody is fully behind him, and when you're asked to something like that in support of someone like him, you don't have to think twice about it.

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