COMMENT: Taylor provides tangible evidence

Ryan Taylor    Picture: Joe Pepler
Ryan Taylor Picture: Joe Pepler

Ryan Taylor paid tribute to his manager ahead of last night’s game, suggesting he was keen to repay the faith he had been shown.

He was good to his word.

The striker has come in for stick from certain quarters for his lack of goals.

But his late double to turn a defeat into victory acted as a two-finger salute to his doubters in the process.

He’s too nice a bloke to say anything like that, and even if he had, he wasn’t made available to speak to any media (other than the club’s TV channel) after the game.

Although he is a number nine, those who merely point to his goals return are missing the bigger picture on what he brings to the side.

There have been some unkind words thrown in his direction but perhaps that late double will make things a little clearer to those who don’t see his good work in the framework of the team.

Taylor may not thank me for the comparison but there are similarities in his style to a much-derided former England striker, Emile Heskey – a physical presence whose selfless efforts for the team allowed others to flourish.

The former Liverpool man was often criticised for his lack of goals among certain fans but was heralded by a succession of managers and team-mates.

So much so that Michael Owen recently rated him as his favourite strike partner during his England days.

Let’s not forget that this is a man who played alongside Alan Shearer and Wayne Rooney.

Taylor wandered off into the Fratton night with blood still seeping from a wound on the bridge of his nose after he inadvertently headed the back of a Tranmere defender’s head in a first-half aerial challenge.

Chances are, few of his critics will have noticed it, just as they probably didn’t see the numerous other contributions he made.

He probably has a sore nose today but he might also look in the mirror and see a battle scar of a famous night where he deserved some of the limelight.

Who knows? He might even have changed an opinion or two along the way.