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Taylor nears full fitness

Newcastle’s Ryan Taylor has revealed how he sought advice from Alan Shearer and Michael Owen as he battled back from a long-term knee injury.

The 29-year-old utility man has been sidelined for almost two years after rupturing his cruciate ligament twice within seven months, but is finally nearing full fitness.

Taylor, absent since August 2012, turned to a string of professionals for advice during his long spell out.

Former Newcastle strikers Shearer and Owen, and Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp, offered their support to the ex-Wigan man, who was treated by American knee specialist Richard Steadman.

He told the Shields Gazette: "I spoke to Michael, Jimmy Bullard, Al and Jamie Redknapp. Because I knew it was such big surgery for me career-wise, I had to make sure it was right.

"I spoke to people who had been over there and come back from the same injury. They gave me the green light - everyone was so positive about the place. I was like, 'Come on, let's get over there'."

Dr Steadman revealed he would require two bouts of surgery six months apart after suffering the injury in the first leg of Newcastle's Europa League clash with Greek side Atromitos.

This miserable spell in his Newcastle career was prolonged after a recurrence of the injury last April ended thoughts of a comeback.

"I knew I'd done something, but I tried to convince myself it wasn't the same injury,\" said Taylor, who hopes to be back for pre-season training.

"I was trying to remain positive until I had the scan. There was nobody near me in training. There was just one twist.

"I had the scan and it didn't sink in until I came back in. There were tears in the doc's room. I didn't know what to do at the time."