Taylor relishing a new challenge after Newcastle exit


Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor is looking forward to new challenges after announcing he will leave the relegated Premier League club.

The 30-year-old has been a first-team regular at St James' Park since making his debut in March 2004, making 268 appearances over 13 seasons.

He will not add to that tally, though, after both parties opted not to extend his current deal, meaning Taylor will become a free agent later this month.

Taylor admitted it will be a "huge wrench" to leave the club and not help them battle to get back into the top flight after their relegation to the Championship in 2015-16.

"It will be a huge wrench to leave Newcastle but I've been offered exciting opportunities both in the UK and abroad and I'm really looking forward to my next challenge," he told the club's website.

"I've loved my time at Newcastle. I'll always be a huge fan of the club and I'll be returning to St James' Park as a supporter whenever I can."

Rafael Benitez - who opted to stay at the club despite failing to stop their drop to the second tier - paid tribute to Taylor's positive approach.

The Spaniard added: "Steven has been a very good player for this club for a long time and his character and personality has always been very positive, including during difficult times."