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Jodie Taylor hits winner on return to England side

Jodie Taylor, shown here with Portland Thorns FC, returned to England's lineup Tuesday and scored the match winner against the Netherlands. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

Jodie Taylor, shown here with Portland Thorns FC, returned to England’s lineup Tuesday and scored the match winner against the Netherlands. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

England coach Mark Sampson described Jodie Taylor as ‘one of the best number nine’s on the planet’ after scoring her first England goal since the 2015 World Cup in the narrow 1-0 victory over the Netherlands in a friendly on Tuesday.

Sampson, who finished with a 6-2-3 record in 2016, was delighted to see one of his key players return, with her introduction proving the vital game changer after she scored the only goal in the 75th minute.

“I think any team in the world would miss Jodie, she is absolutely one of the best number nine’s on the planet and to miss her for nearly a year now has been a big loss for our team,” he said. “I’m absolutely delighted that Jodie is back now and she looks as sharp as ever.”

Taylor was brought on as a substitute just before the hour mark, and it only took her 15 minutes to show her quality after she latched onto a Jordan Nobbs pass to lob the ball over keeper Loes Geurts, scoring her first England goal since her strike against Canada in Vancouver on June 27th last year. It was also the first game Taylor had played for her country since March 4th against the United States at the SheBelieves Cup, having suffered a number of injuries this year that have seen her spend most of the campaign on the sidelines.

Tuesday’s goal came against the run of play, with the hosts having more of the ball, and creating more chances over the 90 minutes in Tilburg.

The goal, though, was a fitting end to what has been a difficult year for the former Portland Thorns and Washington Spirit forward, and she outlined how relieved she was to pull on an England shirt again.

“It is great to be back, it has been a long and tough year with injury,” she said. “I was really pleased to get on, I wasn’t expecting it at all, but to score to help us win was pretty cool. It shows hard work pays off, I have worked my arse off and am pleased to be involved in this trip.”

This wasn’t the first comeback Taylor has made with a goal recently, as she also bagged a brace against Doncaster Rovers Belles in October after coming on as a substitute for Arsenal in what was her debut appearance.

“Its good odds isn’t it! Hopefully I can continue that on into 2017,” she concluded.

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