Swansea City star Neil Taylor will be back before the end of the season, says Michael Laudrup
MICHAEL Laudrup expects Neil Taylor to play for Swansea City's first team this season as the left-back closes in on a complete recovery from his horrific ankle injury.
Taylor is set to feature for Swansea's under-21 side against Millwall at Stebonheath tonight (7pm).
It will be his fourth comeback appearance in Kris O'Leary's development side after more than seven months on the sidelines with the dislocated and fractured ankle suffered in a challenge with Sunderland's Craig Gardner back on September 1. And Laudrup believes Welsh international Taylor will come into contention for a return to Swansea's senior side once this evening's run-out is out of the way.
"I think physically Neil is more or less there now," said the Swansea manager.
"He played 90 minutes for the under-21s last week and he will play again tonight.
"After that it will just be about getting back up to Premier League level.
"It's good for him. He is looking forward to coming back and I think we will see him in the first team before the season ends. That is our plan at least."
Former Wrexham star Taylor has made giant strides since joining Swansea in 2010.
He was a regular in the side which climbed out of the Championship under Brendan Rodgers and then established himself as a solid Premier League left-back last season.
And though Taylor's second top-flight campaign has been ruined, Laudrup reckons the 24-year-old will continue to progress.
"When Neil comes back and plays some games and feels he is not worried about going into a tackle, he will be a stronger," the Dane added.
"I mean as a person as much as a player — you always get stronger when you go through negative things and come out the other side, and Neil will be mentally stronger."
Taylor's return means Laudrup will have an embarrassment of riches at left-back given what Ben Davies has done this season. Laudrup reckons Davies could eventually mature into a central defender, but for now he is looking forward to having two quality options on the left flank of his back four.
"Ben's had a great season, but having him and Neil to choose from is a problem I like," he said.
"I hope to have that kind of problem in every position next season. That's what we need in the squad."