‘It’s followed me everywhere’: Ex-Premier League footballer retires after being trapped in 6 Covid quarantine stints in 2 years
Ex-Newcastle star Steven Taylor has retired from football and says he wants to return to the UK to see his family after missing out on "any type of normal life" because of rigid Covid restrictions in Australia.
Taylor captained top side Wellington Phoenix in New Zealand, where UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya took drastic action on Monday by vowing that he would never fight there again and promising to relocate to the US, with his City Kickboxing academy considering following him.
Phoenix general manager David Dome estimated that former England international Taylor has spent "three months alone in a hotel room" because of the restrictions put in place by Prime Minister Jacinda Arden and in neighboring Australia.
"The thought of having to relocate and hub again... I got caught in a lockdown at the end of last season and then again one day after I got out of managed isolation," explained the 35-year-old, adding that "family is more important than football."
👋🏼 Steven Taylor has called time on his playing career.After he left Newcastle, the defender spent time in the US, India and New Zealand, ending his career with Wellington Phoenix.Good luck in retirement, Steven!#NUFC#OdishaFC#RCTIDpic.twitter.com/HA6r0ckJgc— English Players Abroad (@EnglishAbroad1) September 27, 2021
"It feels like it's followed me everywhere. I haven't had any type of a normal life for some time.
"I'm excited for the next chapter and to see my family back home in the UK."
Phoenix have been based north in Australia over the majority of the past two A-League seasons and Dome stressed how difficult their relocation has been.
"Covid has been tough on this club, its players and staff over the past two years and especially for Steven," said Dome.
"[He's had] six stints in quarantine – that's three months alone in a hotel room - over the past two-odd years. That kind of thing takes a toll on a person."
Taylor and Adesanya could soon be joined by the England cricket team, who are said to be considering pulling out of the sport's biggest test competition, The Ashes, due to host team Australia's covid regulations.
The England netball team have also been forced to cancel their fixtures Down Under.
Nigerian-born brawler Adesanya, whose adopted homeland has seen just 27 deaths from covid but has constantly imposed strict protocol, blasted: "I’m done. All that money, they can get it from somewhere else. The rugby, the cricketers and all the others they’re f*cking giving exemptions to.
"But for me, you will never ever see me fight on these shores [again]. That was one of my dreams."Also on rt.com ‘I’m done’: UFC champ Adesanya fumes at New Zealand government Covid lockdowns and exemptions as he announces move to US