Newcastle United’s Ryan Taylor described Wednesday night’s 2-0 Capital One Cup win at Manchester City as a ‘dream come true’ as he made his long-awaited return from a 26-month injury nightmare.
Goals from Rolando Aarons and Moussa Sissoko secured Alan Pardew’s side a quarter-final trip to Tottenham Hotspur, but it was Taylor’s standout performance after such a long layoff which stood out as the main storyline.
'That was a fairytale, a dream, everything, it all came true tonight,' he told Sky Sports at the final whistle. 'Two years of hard graft for myself just to get back playing football is a big thing for me, but what a performance that was from the lads.
'It's all worth it, all those times in the gym on my own after a performance like that. It's a dream come true.'
Goalkeeper Rob Elliot, who was deputising for Tim Krul on the night, added: 'I think it was always there [confidence] it was just about getting results and now you're seeing a difference in the team, but tonight's all about Ryan.
'He's epitomised everything about us today, two years of solid hard work, with setbacks, and it just shows what we are like and I think everyone is buzzing for him and the fans - it's a great night for us all.'
Sidelined with successive cruciate ligament injuries since August 2012, Taylor’s career was even thought to be under threat after his first attempt at a comeback was foiled last season, and Wednesday’s first-team return prompted numerous club teammates and fellow professionals to hail his resolve.
Quality comeback game from @TaylorR1984 all that hard work and patience has paid off buzzin for you mate— Martin Kelly (@MartinKelly1990) October 29, 2014
Great to see @TaylorR1984 back in action with a win!!— Andy Carroll (@AndyTCarroll) October 29, 2014
Well done mate. You've grafted your nuts off. Good to see you back @TaylorR1984— Danny Simpson (@dannysimpson) October 29, 2014
The worst injury for a footballer to get not only once but twice now he's back after 2 years, hard graft paying off Brilliant— jon flanagan (@jon_flan93) October 29, 2014
Good to see @TaylorR1984 back out there after a horrendous time with injuries! And a great performance— STEVEN REID (@stevenreid12) October 29, 2014
Really happy to see @TaylorR1984 back in Newcastle's starting XI tonight. Overcome a horrific series of set backs. Delighted for him.— Joseph Barton (@Joey7Barton) October 29, 2014
I don't know Ryan Taylor but wish him all the best on his return to after so long out! Unbelievable to comeback from. Salute— Elliott Bennett (@Ebenno88) October 29, 2014
Ryan Taylor; 2 cruciate injuries and a broken leg, but he'll still take one in the bollocks for his side.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) October 29, 2014
Delighted for Ryan Taylor. Can't begin to explain the hard work and pain he has gone through.— michael owen (@themichaelowen) October 29, 2014