Belfast Telegraph

Estonia v Northern Ireland: Taylor back in fold and hoping for a job offer

By Steven Beacom

Maik Taylor celebrated his 40th birthday yesterday. The best present he could receive? A contract offer from a new club.

Having been released by Birmingham City in the summer, Taylor, despite all his experience and proven ability, has been left in limbo, waiting for a call to come.

A shoulder injury didn't help his cause but he's over that now and is delighted to be back in the Northern Ireland squad.

Taylor, a big favourite with the Green and White Army for his heroic deeds in the past, is now number two to Lee Camp on the international stage.

That's the way it will stay if the Nottingham Forest star's performance in the 1-0 defeat to Serbia last week was anything to go by.

Camp excelled, saving numerous long-range efforts, as the Serbs threatened to run riot.

Ever the professional Taylor understands the situation, but is happy to be back in Nigel Worthington's squad for the first time in a year.

“I still get a buzz from joining up with the Northern Ireland squad and am here to help any way I can,” said Taylor.

Meanwhile, given the number of first choice players Worthington is unable to call upon for tomorrow's game in Estonia, weekend call-ups Andrew Little and Josh Carson could both feature from the bench.

Little, who recently joined Port Vale on loan from Rangers, brings versatility to the squad while Worthington believes Ipswich Town's Josh Carson could be a real talent for the future.

Some will wonder though why Andy Kirk has again been snubbed, especially with him scoring goals this season for Dunfermline in the Scottish Premier League.

Shane Ferguson, who played for Northern Ireland's under-21 side last week, is another who could have been on the flight to Tallinn. He's a gifted left-back and with Jonny Evans suspended, there's not much cover in the left back position.

Ferguson's inclusion would also end doubts about the Newcastle defender defecting to the Republic.

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