Taylor Moore Hearts interview: The €10m Lyon bid and why he couldn't say no to Jambos
Articulate and confident, Taylor Moore exudes all the attributes of a footballer raised in France. His story is a fascinating one.
His Hearts debut came last Saturday, a substitute for the final eight minutes of the 2-0 win against Dundee United at Tannadice. The question of how he wound up in Edinburgh on loan from Bristol City provokes a lengthy answer. It is delivered in a polite, perhaps even slightly posh, English accent.
When a reputable European club like Lyon offer €10million for you at the age of 18, it can be overwhelming. Moore enjoyed the experience as a burgeoning centre-back at Lens watched by scouts from across the Continent.
He chose to stay there having come through the youth academy but then fell out of the team at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis. Eventually he was sold to Bristol City in a £1.5m move before subsequent loans to Bury, Cheltenham Town, Southend United and Blackpool. Hearts is the latest on the list.
Now 24, Moore intends this one to be different and felt overwhelmed seeing more than 2,200 travelling fans at Tannadice. He eventually climbed off the bench himself after telling Armand Gnanduillet that the striker would come on to score. Eloquent and a prophet, it seems.
He couldn’t have predicted his own career path after moving to France aged seven and attracting some of Europe’s biggest names as a teenager. That high-calibre interest hints at a defender still carrying plenty potential.
“I was a young English boy playing well abroad. I was 18, absolutely fearless and loved playing for Lens. It attracted a lot of interest from big clubs. We debated what to do then decided to stay at Lens to develop for one more year,” he explained in an exclusive Evening News interview.
“Ultimately, it didn’t work out how we wanted. Looking back on it, there probably isn’t much I would change because there are ups and downs in football and I’ve enjoyed it so far.
“It was amazing. I was at my boyhood club in France, I’d come through the academy there and has support from the fans. When things start going wrong, as a young boy you are one of the first ones pulled out of the team.
Mental strength and resilience
“At the time, I probably wasn’t ready for that. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I probably didn’t have the mental strength and resilience that I do now. It was frustrating turning down a big move then not playing the season after. It did eat away at me but there’s not much I can do about that now.
“I’ve had a handful of loans at Bristol City and that’s how the cookie crumbles. You are still considered a young centre-back at 24. I’ve taken what I could from every loan spell but this one for me is special.
“I've been and done League One in England and I wanted a new challenge. Edinburgh is an amazing city. Ultimately, knowing that fanbase is there every week makes a hell of a difference, especially after Covid and empty stadiums.
“I have two years left on my contract at Bristol City and, at 24, I couldn’t afford to sit around and not play. I appreciate the manager’s honesty letting me come up here to play for this big club. Something as exciting as Hearts in a lovely city was too attractive to turn down.”
An Instagram post by the aforementioned Gnanduillet let the cat out of the bag regarding Moore’s latest loan deal. The two played together at Blackpool. “You know what Armand’s like, he’s a bit careless,” laughed Moore.
“I had long chats with him and he said Hearts had a good enough team to push for something this year. He said to get myself up because we needed someone in this position. I did my homework and here I am.
Brilliant few minutes
“I was sat on the bench on Saturday and I said to him: ‘You’re going to come on and score.’ I told him he would change the game for us. My instructions were to secure it at the back, help Alex [Cochrane] on the left side. Then pretty soon after that we scored so it finished the game off nicely.
“I loved it. I didn’t play from the start but that was the plan with the gaffer all along, just to bed me in a little bit. He needs to stick by boys who have done so well at the start of the season. We had that conversation and it was fine by me. It was brilliant just to get on the pitch for those few minutes.”
Moore isn’t short on atmospheric experiences from playing in France and the English Championship. “Saturday tops it,” he insisted. “I was so impressed with the fans all week when there was talk of me signing. The support I got on social media was brilliant.
“To actually see it first hand with over 2,000 fans, that’s an incredible away support. The noise they made as well. They outsang all the Dundee United fans. I was taken aback by it all.”
Once bedded in, Hearts will have themselves a versatile central defender eager to progress his own game and challenge for success within their team.
“I’m definitely an organiser,” said Moore. “At centre-back you can see the whole pitch so I can organise the whole team. I will give 110 per cent every game. I will try to get on the ball and take risks in the right areas.
“If I can bring that bit of quality I will, but above all I’m here to defend and keep that ball out of the net. I want as many clean sheets as possible to keep us high up the league.”