Former Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor recently penned a one-year deal with Indian Super League (ISL) side Odisha FC.
The 34-year-old Brit has come to India after two successful seasons with A-League side Wellington Phoenix. He was also the club’s skipper last season.
Taylor will pair up with Australian defender Jacob Tratt in Odisha’s defence this season who also joined the club from A-League side Perth Glory.
The defender, who has represented England at the youth level, suggested that he had a fair idea about India and the ISL, courtesy a host of A-League players who had played before in the league.
“(ISL) It’s getting better every year with the top quality players that are coming to the ISL and of course, I’ve played with a lot of players who have played in the ISL. And speaking to them, they all loved playing out in India,” said Taylor to Goal.
Taylor had played alongside ATK Mohun Bagan strike duo Roy Krishna and David Williams at Wellington Phoenix during the 2018-19 season and suggested that both the players had endorsed the league.
“Yeah, they have been great. They've been telling me how much I would enjoy playing out here in India and how much they have loved it so far since signing out here.”
Since last season, there has been a huge influx of top quality players in the ISL from the Australian league. It started with Roy Krishna and David Williams to ATK and Bobo to Hyderabad FC.
The success of Krishna and Williams who played a crucial role in guiding the Kolkata club to their record third ISL title has prompted clubs like Odisha, Hyderabad FC and Kerala Blasters to bring in quite a few big names from down under.
The Englishman explained the reason why a host A-League footballers are keen to join ISL.
“I think with all the uncertainty going on with the A-League, a lot of players have seen how good the ISL is and want to experience and a new challenge.”
The former Newcastle defender spoke very highly of Odisha FC’s new coach Stuart Baxter and said that the coach convinced him to join the club.
“I spoke to Stuart a good few times and hearing his plans for the season and the club was exciting so it was a no brainer after speaking with him that I would be joining Odisha FC. You just have to look at his CV and seeing his experience for myself to learn from will be very good cause you're never too old to learn,” he said.
Taylor heaped praises on the young Indian talents Odisha have acquired this season and suggested that he is looking forward to having an exciting season with the club.
“They have a very young and exciting squad with ambitions to have an exciting season. There are a lot of up and coming new Indian talents, so it will be good to see them express themselves this season and for us to do something special,” said the British defender.