Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew denies he dropped Steven Taylor over comments leading up to yesterday's clash with Sunderland.

Taylor, with tongue in cheek, suggested no Sunderland player would make Newcastle's XI.

The defender was the subject of ugly abuse from home fans during yesterday's 1-1 draw, though Pardew claimed he had not heard the chants. And he insisted he was not dropped as punishment.

Pardew said: "Why was he an automatic pick? Mike Williamson has been brilliant. It is a squad game and Steve has to earn the right to play."