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Taylor in shock over England call-up
Newcastle defender Steven Taylor admits he thought someone was pulling his leg when he got his call to meet up with England this week.
The 27-year-old is currently training with Roy Hodgson's squad ahead of their World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro after being drafted in as a late replacement. However, Taylor has revealed he initially thought one of his club-mates was playing a trick on him.
He told the Shields Gazette: "I was lying in bed watching TV and my phone rang. I didn't recognise the number, so I didn't answer."
Taylor added: "I then got a text from [club secretary] Lee Charnley congratulating me - but I didn't know what he was congratulating me for!
"My phone went again and I answered it. I thought it was someone taking the mick - I thought one of the lads had got their missus to ring me."
Taylor's call-up may have come about because of injury and unavailability, but with Magpies boss Alan Pardew having warmly recommended him to Hodgson on several occasions following his return to full fitness.
His return to the Newcastle team has coincided with a significant improvement in form, and Pardew is desperate for him to avoid the kind of injuries which have plagued his career to date.
Taylor has spent far too much time for his own liking in the treatment room in recent years, but has thanked both Pardew and assistant manager John Carver for the faith they have invested in him.
He said: "The support I have had from the gaffer has been fantastic. I have to thank him for his faith in me.
"I have known JC [Carver] since I was just nine and he has guided me through the club. Both have been major influences for me in that time."