The key Portsmouth playing principles former Bolton and West Ham favourite will demand following his Shrewsbury appointment

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It’s the minimum requirement of any Pompey player who steps out onto the hallowed turf at Fratton Park – hard work, energy and commitment.

If you do that, the Fratton faithful will stick by you. If you don’t, then you can forget about it. It’s that simple.

Matt Taylor quickly learned those three important playing principles during his memorable six-year-long stay on the south coast.

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Now it’s a prerequisite the 41-year-old will insist his newly-inherited Shrewsbury players will abide by, following his appointment as head coach at New Meadow.

Taylor, who made a huge impact at Pompey following his arrival from Luton in 2002, has been announced as Steve Cotterill’s successor at the Shrews.

The length of his contract has not been disclosed as the former Blues, Bolton and West Ham man gets down to business ahead of his side’s season-opener against Cheltenham on August 5.

But one thing that is sure is Taylor will insist each player gives his all for the shirt and the fans – something he knows will stand them in good stead following his time at Fratton Park.

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When asked what Shrewsbury fans can expect from his team upon his unveiling, Taylor responded: ‘Without doubt, if I look back on my career, and I look at what made me successful (it) was hard work and energy.

Former Pompey favourite has been named as Shrewsbury's new head coach   Picture: George Wood/Getty ImagesFormer Pompey favourite has been named as Shrewsbury's new head coach   Picture: George Wood/Getty Images
Former Pompey favourite has been named as Shrewsbury's new head coach Picture: George Wood/Getty Images

‘The things that are non-negotiable for me will be that the players have to give everything every time they put the shirt on. That’s the least the fans deserve.

‘I think you accept mistakes 100 per cent as a football fan, and I do when I watch it. But what is imperative is that every time a player goes onto the pitch wearing a Shrewsbury Town shirt, they go and give everything they’ve got.

‘That’s the minimum requirement and I’m sure the players will do that.’

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Taylor is back in management for the first time since his sacking by Walsall in February 2022.

He takes over a Shrews squad that came 12th in last season’s League One race – and a group that has been depleted by departures in recent weeks.

The likes of Pompey new-boy Christian Saydee, Carl Winchester, Matthew Pennington and Elliott Bennett have all left the club, leaving Taylor with significant holes to fill in his squad.

He and new director of football Micky Moore are already on the case to find solutions. As a result, Taylor was reluctant to be too specific about what this season holds for the Shrews.

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‘What I’ve learned in football is that it’s very difficult to look too long term,’ he said.

‘But my aim this season is to make sure that the first game of the season at home against Cheltenham, the team are healthy, prepared and understand their roles and responsibilities and go out and put in a performance for the supporters. Because one thing I am aware of is that the football club here and its supporters are local, which is what I love about this football club.

‘Therefore, the players have to be ready for that first game.

‘Beyond that, obviously, the aim is to win as many games of football as possible. But let’s take one step at a time and the most important thing is that we get the players in on Sunday, we work extremely hard throughout pre-season and we take them to the edge, without breaking them, making sure everybody is ready physically and mentally for the first game of the season.’

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Taylor will have to wait until April 6, 2024, for a reunion with Pompey at Fratton Park. However, his former club travel to New Meadow on December 16 for what should be an emotional occasion for the 2003 Division One title-winner.