Taylor leaves A-League's Wellington

Steven Taylor's spell with A-League side Wellington Phoenix is over after two seasons.
Steven Taylor's spell with A-League side Wellington Phoenix is over after two seasons.

Wellington Phoenix captain Steven Taylor has left the club a month after leading them to their highest-ever A-League finish.

Taylor, 34, was an ever-present in the interrupted 2019-20 season as the Nix finished in third place before losing an elimination final to Perth Glory.

Despite a contract for the next two seasons, the English central defender won't be returning to Wellington after the Phoenix announced they had "mutually agreed" to part ways.

"It is with a heavy heart that I am saying goodbye to the Nix," Taylor said in a club statement.

Taylor is one of the highest-profile players to sign in New Zealand, after playing for Newcastle United in the English Premier League for more than a decade.

The Phoenix statement did not give a reason for Taylor's abrupt departure, which comes amid a sea of uncertainty for the league's future.

FFA is yet to confirm a start date for 2020-21, its structure or a pay deal for the competition, which has been all but abandoned by broadcaster Fox Sports.

Wellington coach Ufuk Talay thanked Taylor for his two-season spell.

"He put his imprint on the team this past season and helped to create a positive, winning culture for the players," Talay said.

"It'll now be up to our next captain to continue that great work and to build on the third-place finish we achieved last season."

Taylor is the latest in a string of high-profile exits from the club.

Marquee striker Gary Hooper left at the end of his one year deal to sign in India, while rising star Liberato Cacace was signed by ex-Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat, who is now at the helm of Belgian club Sint-Truiden.

Out-of-contract local product Callum McCowatt signed with Danish top-flight club Helsingor earlier this month.

Australian Associated Press