ANYONE who has watched Ryan Taylor in his 42 Argyle appearances to date will know that he is about much more than just goals.
His 10-in-42 return is not shabby at all, but it is everything else that has led team-mates such as Ryan Edwards to label Tayls ‘the best forward in the league’ and for Derek Adams to sign the soft-spoken Yorkshireman to a new two-year contract this summer.
All that said, Taylor says he knows how strikers are judged, and will not settle into the season until he has his first goal.
“As a striker, it is your main objective to score goals,” said Ryan. “I had a little chance on Saturday, touched it round the corner and it got cleared off the line.
“You are judged on goals, so you look to score them. But if not, you want to do something else and add things to your game. I feel I hold the ball up pretty well and bring people into the game.”
For some time it seemed as though Taylor would not make the season’s opener at Walsall, struggling as he has with a pair of ankle injuries over the past year. He managed two appearances in Dutch friendlies, though, and was fit enough for Derek Adams to call on him at Banks’s Stadium.
“It wasn’t an ideal pre-season,” said Tayls. “I got a 60 minutes and 90 minutes, I wasn’t fit when we came back for pre-season. I had a few injections in my ankle as it wasn’t healing like we thought it would. I’m over that now. It feels strong. It wasn’t ideal, but it is strong now and that is the main thing.
“I feel fit. I’m not 100% match sharp, but that will come with the games.”
Should Taylor not make it for any game, players such as summer signings Freddie Ladapo and Calum Dyson are waiting in the wings, and Ryan not recognises the pressure on him to play well, but appreciates where Adams had to strengthen.
He said: “There’s plenty of competition for places now. It’s going to be tough to get in the team and stay in the team. That’s pressure I like as an individual, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.
“I think that’s why we struggled last year. With injuries and suspensions we were down to the bare bones. This year, on Saturday there were six first-team players that didn’t even travel to Walsall.”
Taylor and the rest of the Pilgrims meet Southend United on Saturday, a side that lost their opening game 3-2 at home to Doncaster.
They do so at a Home Park now occupied by supporters on just three sides, as ongoing work to the Grandstand means supporters will be seated only within the ‘horseshoe’ area of Home Park.
Taylor recognises Southend’s threat, but says playing in front of reduced capacities or unusual stadium layouts, following stints at Rotherham United and Oxford United, will not faze him.
Neither, he says, does playing for Derek Adams. In fact, Taylor is still enjoying life as a Pilgrim 18 months in, and his relationship with the manager led to the 30-year-old signing a new contract in the summer.
“It’ll be a tough game,” said Ryan. “They lost their opening game of the season, so they will be looking to put the wrongs right. We will look to do the same, so it should be a good game.
“It will feel different. I played at Don Valley at Rotherham, and the three sides at Oxford. It will be different, but we will adapt and come Saturday we will be ready.
“It’s nice to see. They’ve been talking about it for a couple of years, and it is nice to see the work going. I hope I am here to see the final product.
“Everybody knows [Adams] is a tough taskmaster, but the players take to that that really well. He’s brilliant to play under. He’s brought the best out of me. I’m looking forward to the next two years.”