'It makes it easier for the next ones' - Mark Rudan hopeful Steven Taylor's signing leads to more key Phoenix deals

Wellington Phoenix coach Mark Rudan believes the signature of one-time Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor will create a snowball effect for the A-League club.

A veteran of 194 English Premier League appearances, Taylor brings a wealth of experience and professionalism to the Phoenix.

The 32-year-old is Rudan's first player-signing since being unveiled as coach six weeks ago, following through with a promise to set his sights high with player recruitment.

He expects Taylor's signature will make the club instantly more attractive to other high-profile players.

"It makes it easier for the next ones," Rudan said on Tuesday.

"Steven is a significant signing for the football club in what we are trying to create.

"We take our time with our signings, especially the visa spots. We want good leaders and we want to improve the level of professionalism at this club."

A former England under-21 captain, Taylor never played at senior level for his country. However, he did make one appearance for England B.

He enjoyed a career with Newcastle United from 2003-2016, with all but one of them being in the EPL where he forged a reputation as an industrious and reliable defender.

Taylor had brief stints with Major League Soccer club Portland Timbers and English Championship club Ipswich Town before under-taking a 50-match season with third-tier English outfit Peterborough United.

A chat with Newcastle Jets' former English striker Michael Bridges convinced him the Phoenix, and the A-League, were an ideal destination.

"It's just got better and better, the quality of players out here now," Taylor said.

"It's going to be difficult for the likes of myself because there are attackers of high quality."

The central defender enjoyed his experience in New Zealand four years ago when Newcastle Utd played pre-season matches in Dunedin (Sydney FC) and in front of a near-full house in Wellington (Phoenix).

"Playing against the Phoenix in 2014 was a big thing. It was a great game for us, we should have actually got beat in that game."

Taylor will begin training this week with his debut likely to be against Bentleigh Greens in their first round FFA Cup match in Melbourne next month.


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Manchester United's Premier League woes continue, held to draw by lowly Wolves

Nuno Espirito Santo put one over his mentor Jose Mourinho when promoted Wolverhampton held Manchester United to 1-1 at Old Trafford in the English Premier League.

Wolves manager Espirito Santo, who once played under the United coach at Porto, saw Mourinho's team take the lead in the 18th minute when Paul Pogba set up Fred.

Fred's goal came against the run of play as United struggled on Alex Ferguson's homecoming. The former manager was back at Old Trafford for the first time since he underwent emergency brain surgery in May.

Wolves deservedly leveled on a counterattack eight minutes after the interval. Raul Jimenez collected the ball in the center of the penalty box after another raid down the United left which began with sloppy play from Pogba.

Awkwardly placed for a shot, Jimenez laid the ball to Joao Moutinho, who curled a classy finish past United goalkeeper David De Gea.

United might well have been nursing successive home defeats were it not for the brilliant De Gea, who made several good saves, including one from Adama Traore in added time.

Joao Moutinho's equaliser condemned United to a 1-1 stalemate at home. Source: SKY


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Sergio Aguero scores in 300th Premier League match as Manchester City wallop Cardiff

Sergio Aguero celebrated signing a new contract with Manchester City by scoring the opening goal in a 5-0 win over Cardiff in the English Premier League.

The Argentina striker's fourth league goal of the season came on his 300th appearance for City, which bounced back from its surprise midweek loss to Lyon in the Champions League.

Bernardo Silva, Ikay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez - with two second-half goals as a substitute - also scored at Cardiff City Stadium as City recorded a fifth win in the opening six games of its title defense.

City announced on Friday that Aguero penned a one-year extension to his contract, tying him to the club until 2021 and likely meaning he'll see out a decade at Etihad Stadium.

The fans' favorite was back in the starting lineup after getting dropped to the bench against Lyon and was dangerous throughout, getting his goal in the 32nd by finishing off a squared ball by Bernardo.

The Portugal playmaker turned scorer three minutes later when he flicked in a cross from Leroy Sane.

Gundogan curled in a classy third just before halftime after exchanging passes with Raheem Sterling, before Mahrez scored in the 67th - with his first since joining in the offseason from Leicester - soon after replacing Aguero and again in the 89th.

The striker shone in his side's 5-0 win over the Bluebirds. Source: SKY


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Tottenham hold off Premier League strugglers Brighton to return to winning ways

Harry Kane moved alongside Jermain Defoe as the joint fifth highest Tottenham scorer of all time on 143 as the London club emerged from a slump by beating Brighton 2-1 in the English Premier League.

Tottenham had lost three games in a row for the first time under coach Mauricio Pochettino, but put things right in soaking conditions.

England striker Kane ended a personal five-game goalless run for club and country when he converted a penalty after Davy Proepper handled a free kick by Kieran Trippier just before halftime.

Brighton wasted a good chance to equalize through Anthony Knockaert and was made to pay when Tottenham added a brilliant second goal following a sweeping move in the 76th minute.

Trippier, Eric Dier, and Lucas Moura were all involved and Erik Lamela scored after being teed up by Danny Rose.

Kane fired straight at Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan three times before Knockaert made up for his earlier miss by grabbing a consolation goal in injury time.

Spurs sealed a 2-1 away win over the Seagulls after a tumultuous week. Source: SKY


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Watch: Liverpool thrash Southampton to retake Premier League's top spot

Liverpool stayed perfect in the Premier League with its sixth straight victory on Saturday after beating Southampton 3-0 at Anfield.

Switzerland international Xherdhan Shaqiri marked his first start for the club with a role in two first-half goals. His deflected cross was turned in by Wesley Hoedt for the opener and a brilliant curling free-kick against the crossbar presented Mohamed Salah with a simple close-range effort for the third.

Either side of those goals, Joel Matip scored his first at Anfield as Southampton was pulled apart by a Liverpool side still nowhere near top gear.

Juergen Klopp's team is top with 18 points though Chelsea can go level on points if it wins at West Ham tonight.

Liverpool still has some way to go to match the club's best start to a campaign, though, as the 1990-91 side won 10 successive competitive matches.

Klopp changed his system to accommodate Shaqiri, switching to 4-2-3-1 with Salah moved to the centre and Shaqiri playing behind.

In the 10th minute Shaqiri cut in from the left to race onto Sadio Mane's perfectly-weighted throughball, hitting a right-footed shot off Shane Long onto Hoedt with scrambling goalkeeper Alex McCarthy unable to keep it out.

Salah was denied by a superbly timed block from Cedric Soares after combining with Roberto Firmino but that led to the second goal as Trent Alexander-Arnold's corner was powerfully headed home by Matip, making his first start since March 31.

Salah avoided the worst drought of his short Liverpool career in first-half added time thanks to his anticipation and no shortage of Shaqiri brilliance, netting his 30th goal in his last 31 Anfield appearances.

He was denied a second for offside in the 89th minute after Mario Lamina had cleared James Milner's shot off the line.

The only downside to the afternoon was the departure of Virgil van Dijk with a bruised rib.

For Southampton it was a third loss in six league matches.

The 3-0 win over the Saints keeps Liverpool's perfect start intact. Source: SKY


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