Ryan Taylor described Newcastle United's win at Manchester City in the Capital One Cup as a "fairytale" after making his first appearance for the Magpies for more than two years.
Taylor, 30, last played for Newcastle in August 2012 before back-to-back cruciate knee ligament injuries kept the versatile midfielder out of first-team action for 26 months.
After making his comeback for Newcastle in a behind-closed-doors friendly win over Carlisle before the last international break, Taylor's return was completed when he started and played all 90 minutes of Newcastle's 2-0 victory over the Capital One Cup holders and Premier League champions at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night.
"It was a fairytale," he told Sky Sports after the match. "It was a dream that all came true. It's been two years of hard graft to get back playing. What a performance that was from the lads."
- Robert Elliot (@the_dilsh) October 29, 2014
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew paid tribute to Taylor's determination to make a recovery in his postmatch news conference.
"Obviously he was outstanding," he said. "Professional footballers sometimes get a bad press for the way they conduct themselves and their professionalism, but you are talking about a guy who, for two years, has been injured and conducted himself in the best possible manner.
"He came in with a smile on his face, encouraged players in those two years. He got his reward because of that professionalism. He has only had one-and-a-half reserve games, and to play like he did was absolutely outstanding and a credit to himself.
"Our staff have been very impressed with his conduct. He is a beacon of light in professional football."