Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor has heaped praise on his former England U21 manager Peter Taylor, who was dismissed by Crystal Palace last week.

The 21-year-old still appreciates the work of the former manager, who broke up a north-south divide in the squad in the 2004-05 season when he began his second spell in charge.

"That was addressed and the northerners hanging around together and the southerners doing the same is a thing of the past now in the squad," said Taylor. "In training sessions, it used to be separated, but now it's all mixed up. It's like a club atmosphere."

Peter Taylor was also credited with introducing players such as Micah Richards and Aaron Lennon to international football and raising the profile of the U21s, though he was helped by the competition being moved to 'odd' years to avoid clashing with major senior tournaments. The result has been Stuart Pearce's full-time appointment in an all-encompassing role looking at younger age groups and youth development.

"In terms of professionalism, Pearce demands a hell of a lot from his players and gets the best out of you," said Taylor. "We train to a very high standard and we know our jobs - he shows us after the game what we have to improve. We've set a standard and now we have to maintain it. We'll only get better as a team, and there is real togetherness there. You see at the top clubs and the most successful countries have that togetherness."