Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor can be a top class player when fit.
McClaren said: “He’s an important player for us. We just want to keep him fit. If we can keep him fit, you’ve all seen what an asset he is. It’s not just in terms of what he brings playing-wise, it’s also the fact that he’s Newcastle through and through. What he needs to do is what he’s doing – stay fit and be ready when he’s called upon.”
He struggled last term on the field of play, before being struck down with an Achilles tendon problem which kept him out for the entire second half of the season.
The centre-back - who was called up by McClaren when he was England manager - has since started this season in impressive form, excelling against Manchester United, although he lost his place in the team as the Magpies fell to defeat to Arsenal.
Taylor has competition for the central positions in the defence this season, with Fabricio Coloccini and Chancel Mbemba both also performing well so far this term, and the competition McClaren has created in his squad will create a healthy squad atmosphere.
If playing at the top of his game, Taylor is sure to be selected every week as one of the first-choice centre-backs, and it is no surprise that keeping the 29-year-old match-fit is one of McClaren’s priorities for the campaign.