Taylor recommits to the Phoenix
English defender Steven Taylor has re-signed with the Wellington Phoenix on a one-year deal – ensuring he will return for his fourth A-League season with the club.
Taylor, 35, re-joined the Phoenix in March 2021 following a stint with Oshida FC in the Indian Super League, playing in 11 matches – including nine starts – in the 2020/21 season.
The numbers this season back up Taylor’s reputation as an elite defender and team player. In the eight matches that Taylor started and played the full 90 minutes, the Phoenix are unbeaten during this time (4W, 4D). with the club conceding an average of 0.75 goals per game – an improvement on the average of 1.36 goals conceded on the season.
Wellington Phoenix head coach Ufuk Talay says that it is often the intangibles that define Taylor’s impact on the field.
“Tayls is a leader for us first and foremost; he brings us that experience, determination and passion on the field that helps everyone on the squad to lift their games,” Talay said.
“He’s someone we know we can rely on to bring it 100% every match and solidify our backline – our defence and decision-making is simply better when he plays.
“Retaining Taylor is key for us going forward so I’m happy to see him return to the Phoenix next season, and I know the fans will be happy to see him back.”
Taylor says that the Wellington Phoenix and its fanbase has a special place in his heart, which made re-signing an easy decision for him.
“Coming back [to the Phoenix] was a no-brainer for me, I want to be around these guys again so I’m delighted to be here next season,” Taylor said.
“I had a good chat with the Manager [Ufuk Talay] and he’s been class all the way through; I love the style of play that we play, I love the Phoenix fans and the boys in the squad.
“You just got to look at what we had in Wellington [on 22 May], for me to be part of that was a very special night – walking out with the boys in front of all those fans, I want more nights like that with the Phoenix.”
The Wellington Phoenix conclude their A-League season against Macarthur FC in Sydney tonight (Friday), having fallen short of the top six playoffs.
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