DANNY Simpson insists right-back rival Ryan Taylor has the perfect credentials to fill Newcastle United’s troublesome defensive slot when the Premier League season kicks off.
United are pondering whether to make a move into the transfer market to find a replacement for Simpson, who will be missing until late September after rupturing a tendon in his ankle.
Chris Hughton made a tentative enquiry about Bolton’s versatile defender Jlloyd Samuel last week, and Nigeria’s World Cup international Danny Shittu is another on the long list of targets who can fill in at right-back if required. But Simpson, who will be absent when the players return to Newcastle’s Benton base for pre-season training on July 5, reckons that Taylor offers an option every bit as attractive as a new signing.
The former Wigan man was an irregular presence in the side following the signing of Simpson last season, but the man who kept him out of the team has handed him a ringing endorsement to step in when the top flight campaign gets under way at Old Trafford. “Ryan is a great player and if he is playing at right-back on the first day of the season then we’ll have no worries whatsoever,” Simpson said.
“He played in the Premier League for years – he’s played right-back and right-wing for us but he is a good defender with plenty of quality on the ball as well.
“Ryan did well whenever he was asked to step in last year and he has England under-21 caps, which you don’t get unless you’re a good player who can play at the top level.
“It’s obviously not up to me to do the manager’s job for him and if he decides he wants to bring someone in then fair enough, but he already has a good right-back option in Ryan.
“I think having him in the squad as well helped me last year because I knew that if I let my performances drop then he would was ready to come in and replace me.”
With United slow off the mark on the
transfer front, supporters are expecting Magpies manager Hughton to have to use the majority of the players he had last season to plot a path to Premier League safety.
The likes of Taylor will certainly get a chance to prove a point in the early stages of pre-season, with Hughton likely to have to wait until later in the summer to bring in his loan targets.