Arsenal Premier League title winner Stuart Taylor looks unrecognisable 20 years on and only recently retired

ARSENAL cult icon Stuart Taylor looks almost unrecognisable 20 years on from his Premier League heroics.

The former goalkeeper, now, 41, was tipped to become David Seaman's long-term successor at Highbury.

Taylor broke into the Arsenal first-team in 2001 after working his way through the youth ranks.

As well as helping his side win the Premier League crown in 2001-02, Taylor caught the eye with his long, slicked-back locks.

But two decades on from his fresh-faced feat, the ex-England Under-21s stopper cuts a very different figure.

As recently as his 40th birthday last year, Taylor proved he was still rocking the long hair with style.

But the ex-Arsenal star has now trimmed the flowing hair to a neater, shorter look – complete with some neat designer stubble – a far cry from his fresh-faced look in the noughties.

Taylor got his break at Highbury in 2001, under Arsene Wenger.

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The stopper held off Richard Wright and Alex Manninger to become Seaman's understudy.

And he managed ten appearances in his debut season in the first-team squad, winning a Premier League medal in the process.

Taylor also won an FA Cup and two Charity Shields at the Gunners.

But initially behind Seaman – and then Jens Lehmann and Manuel Almunia – in the pecking order, he was limited to just 30 appearances in all competitions during his eight-year stay.

Unfortunately, being the understudy was the story of Taylor's career.

The stopper joined Aston Villa in 2005 but was stuck behind Thomas Sorensen and managed just 12 Prem games in four years.

Taylor then joined Manchester City a year AFTER their mega-money takeover.

However, he was stuck behind Shay Given, Joe Hart and Costel Pantillimon at the Etihad and never saw a single minute of top-flight action.

Four league games in two years at Reading and just three matches in one season at Leeds followed, before Taylor joined Southampton in 2016.

Taylor spent two seasons at Saints – failing to register a single minute of league action – before retiring in 2018.

He now runs the Stuart Taylor Goalkeeping Academy, training stoppers of tomorrow.

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