Wellington Phoenix’s A-League captain and defensive stalwart Steven Taylor retires at age 35.
It has been a long career for Steven Taylor. The 35-year old made his Newcastle United debut in 2004 in a UEFA Cup match against Real Mallorca. His head coach at the time was Sir Bobby Robson. Taylor then made his Premier League debut in a defeat against the Bolton Wanderers that same year.
He would remain with Newcastle until the end of the 2016 season making 194 Premier League appearances and 216 appearances in all competition for United.
After his departure the defender spent a short period of time in 2016 with MLS club the Portland Timbers before returning to the UK to play with Championship side Ipswich Town. He then went to League One side Peterborough United for 2017-18.
Taylor then made an antipodean swap by moving to the A-League and signed for the Wellington Phoenix in 2018-19. He would go on to play three seasons with the Phoenix playing 73 A-League games.
The retirement comes as somewhat of a surprise to some. Wellington Phoenix head coach Ufuk Talay said last Friday in a stand up media event that he was planning on making "Tayls" his captain this year.
Talay praised the Englishmen's experience and leadership which he described as his reasons for naming Taylor as Wellington's captain again for 2021-22. Taylor had played in a pre-season match for the club last Saturday.
According to Stuff.co.nz, Taylor is not retiring due to reasons related to injury but due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The upcoming start of the season for the Phoenix, who will be based in New South Wales for the first two months of the A-League 2021-22 season as part of the NSW conference, was ultimately what prompted his decision.
“100 per cent [I have retired] There’s no chance I would leave the Phoenix to go to another club. That would not happen,” Taylor said to Stuff.
“If we were based in Wellington, 100 per cent it would be a no-brainer [to stay]. That’s why I signed here and I think everyone understands that.
“My team-mates understand that. They know how much I love playing in front of the Yellow Fever.
“Playing at Sky Stadium, that’s why I’m a professional footballer, for that atmosphere. It’s disappointing that I can’t do that.
“My biggest thing now is my family. I haven’t been able to see them.
“I would have loved for my parents to have watched my last game, but it couldn’t be because of the situation with Covid.”
The Wellington Phoenix are set to open their season against Macarthur on the 21st of November, 2021 at Campbeltown Stadium.