STEVEN Taylor knows the secret of Alan Irvine’s early success at The Hawthorns – his “angry face”!
Taylor was coached by West Bromwich Albion’s manager during his time as Academy director at Newcastle United.
The 56-year-old was a surprise successor to Pepe Mel, who was sacked in the summer after a five-month spell in charge.
Irvine had a fruitful spell at Newcastle, when he worked with John Carver, now United assistan boss, and then-reserve team coach Tommy Craig, who is in charge at St Mirren.
As well as Taylor, the likes of Shola Ameobi, Peter Ramage and Michael Chopra graduated from the Academy to the first team.
And defender Taylor isn’t surprised that Irvine has lifted West Brom – who entertain Newcastle on Sunday – after Mel’s ill-fated reign.
The Baggies are 11th in the Premier League, and ahead of the 12th-placed Tynesiders on goal difference.
“I have massive respect for Alan Irvine, because he is one of the best coaches I have ever had,” said Taylor.
“He coached me as a young kid coming through at Under-17 level.
“He has done well at West Brom and got them well-organised.
“He has just given them a new lift, and they’re playing with confidence, so it will be a difficult game.
“We know it’s going to be a completely different game to the Liverpool one, and we’re looking forward to it.”
Irvine – who had a long spell as David Moyes’s number two at Everton – set high standards for his Academy teams, and Taylor says when he talked, the club’s young players listened.
“He (Irvine) had massive respect from everyone when he was here as the academy director,” said 28-year-old Taylor.
“I haven’t seen anything really close to Alan Irvine and Tommy Craig.
“They had that aura about them, and I think we went through a whole season and got beaten once. We got to the play-off final against Man United at St James’s Park.
“He had that respect and everyone was nervous and scared around him, because of that aura, and that Scottish, angry face.
“If you go 2-0 down, he is laying right into you.
“I think he has waited for his chance and he did well as assistant manager to David Moyes at Everton.
“I’m absolutely delighted for him and he has done so well, but I hope he has a hiccup against us.”
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