nottinghampost – Lyle Taylor’s career has never been better after clawing his way up the leagues following a series of setbacks which made him doubt his future.
At the age of 30, he is finally an established Championship player having impressed last season with Charlton Athletic, earning a move to Nottingham Forest when plenty of other teams were keen.
Now the striker is establishing himself as a favourite at the City Ground, with four goals this season coming in wins against Coventry City and Wycombe Wanderers, plus the draw against Derby County.
Things are looking up, but he admits his career could be in a very different place by this stage.
A move to Bournemouth a decade ago never panned out as he ventured north to Scotland, for a season at Falkirk where he scored 24 goals to earn what could have been his big move to Sheffield United.
When that move and a stint at Scunthorpe United also failed, Taylor was forced to re-establish himself in Leagues One and Two with AFC Wimbledon in his mid-20s.
It has been an upward curve since then, but Taylor admits he was never convinced he would be playing regularly in the second tier having exited his 20s.
“That’s a difficult one. I always believed in myself,” he said.
“I always believed that if given the chance I could prove myself able. Did I think I’d be playing for Nottingham Forest at the age of 30? No, not really.
“Did I dream of playing for a specific club? No.
“I wanted to play as high up the ladder as I could, whether that’s in the Championship at the top or the bottom.
“I’ve always wanted to get to the highest level possible. I’m glad I’m here.
“I’m honoured to play for this club. I wanted to be given this chance but I think there’s more. Why can’t we?
“I want to play at the highest level I can possibly play at. If this is it then so be it. Not a problem to me, but I’ll give my everything whenever I pull on the shirt.
“I’d love to play in the Premier League and score a goal. Every kid dreams of that.
“When I was in League One or League Two you never know if you’ll get there or if you’ve missed your chance.
“I’m here now. I’ve proven I can play in this level.
“I’ve got to do the job for my team and see how far we can go.”
With his four goals having been worth five points, Taylor admits he is feeling sharp – and he feels there is more to come as he gets back up to speed following his self-imposed exile in his final days at Charlton, when he chose not to risk injury and scupper a more lucrative move.
“I feel good. I’m getting back to being fully fit. I can go again in games,” he said.
“You’ll see a rise in quality from me in my work. I’m playing minutes and getting fully fit. I feel good for it.”