Manchester United youngster Max Taylor is set to leave Old Trafford and embark on a new challenge after overcoming a battle with cancer.
The 21-year-old defender, who has been with United since the age of 14, placed his footballing career on hold back in 2018 when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.
Yet remarkably, after fighting through a challenging period of chemotherapy and surgery, just over a year later Taylor was travelling to Kazakhstan with the Red Devils' first team for a Europa League outing at Astana.
He failed to make it off the bench that night, nonetheless, and will now leave United at the end of the season without making a senior appearance.
However, Taylor is full of optimism ahead of the next step of his journey.
“In the summer I’ll be going to a new club, which is exciting,” he told PA.
“It was agreed when I signed my extension (last summer) really, that I’d have a year out on loan playing football and stuff and then I would move on at the age of 21 if things didn’t change.
“We sort of knew what was going to happen and it’s not something I’m spiteful about, I want to go and play men’s football and if that’s not going to happen here it’s going to have to be somewhere else.
“I’ll always be thankful to United for all the experiences they’ve given me.
“They were great all throughout treatment and past treatment, even in the coronavirus period.
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“They were great in terms of saying ‘listen, this is going to be the plan’ and we both spoke openly to each other about what were going to be the plans for the next few seasons and things like that.”
Taylor followed up the trip to Kazakhstan with a brief spell at Stalybridge Celtic, before heading on loan to Kidderminster this term.
The coronavirus lockdown ended his National League North campaign earlier than anticipated, but he still learned plenty both on and off the field.
“To have that consistent run of games, to be involved in a team where it’s tight-knit and you’re pushing for results and you need to win week in, week out to keep pushing, it was a great learning experience,” he said.
“It’s getting used to that ‘I’m beating you today’ not just we’ve got these patterns, which is massive at this (Under-23) level and you try and replicate the first team to an extent.”
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