Manchester United's Max Taylor says cancer won't define him after Europa League call-up

Taylor included in United's squad for Europa League tie at Astana

Manchester United youngster Max Taylor
Image: Manchester United's Max Taylor was diagnosed with testicular cancer in October 2018

Manchester United youngster Max Taylor says he won't let cancer define him after being included in the squad to face Astana on Thursday.

Taylor was diagnosed with testicular cancer in October 2018 and a CT scan later revealed that the disease had spread to his abdomen, the lymph nodes in his abdomen and his lungs.

The 19-year-old defender underwent immediate treatment including surgery and a nine-week course of chemotherapy at the Christie Hospital in Manchester, which proved to be successful.

Remarkably, 13 months after his initial diagnosis, Taylor has been called up to United's senior squad for their Europa League trip to Kazakhstan and the defender now wants to be recognised for his achievements on the pitch as well as his recovery off of it.

"There's a lot of people out there who think, like I did, that people only remember them for having cancer," Taylor said.

Image: Max Taylor has been included in Manchester United's squad to face Astana on Thursday

"They'd be like 'ah, that's what you've done, you're amazing to get out of that'. But I think the message is that you can be more than that - and I want to be more than that.

"Yeah, it's a part of me and I'm not going to hide from it. But that's what it is: it's a part of me, it doesn't define me. The cancer is something that has happened, but it's not going to be what people remember me for.

Also See:

"I don't just want to be a footballer; I want to be someone who people look up to in terms of raising money and helping others."

Taylor was visited throughout his treatment by United's development player care assistant Andy Jordan and club doctor Steve McNally, while coaches Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna also supported his recovery.

Image: The 19-year-old centre-back could make his senior debut for United in Kazakhstan

Taylor also revealed that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gave him a much-needed boost on his return to the club after treatment.

"I remember the first day I came in to see the doctors and staff and I still wasn't that well," Taylor said.

"I was still a bit frail when I was walking and stuff. I'd get out of breath, even just going upstairs or whatever.

"When I went for breakfast he took me into his office and introduced me to coach Mark Dempsey, who I hadn't met before, and we saw Kieran and Carrick.

"Then, after that, they took me outside training and just watched the session.

"It was amazing because I hadn't obviously been back and then to go over and watch the first team and just stand with them and have a chat was really uplifting."

Solskjaer has included Taylor along with a number of the club's other young prospects in his squad to face Astana, with qualification for the Europa League knockout stages already confirmed.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Manchester United must be 'ruthless' with their January spending to help their young players reach their potential, Gary Neville tells Monday Night Football

Only four senior players - Lee Grant, Axel Tuanzebe, Luke Shaw and Jesse Lingard - have made the trip to Kazakhstan.

Taylor is determined to make the most of the opportunity, after admitting he had doubted he would return to football after his cancer treatment.

"I always had a mindset of that there's no way I'm not going to be alive after this," he said.

"But there were times where I thought 'will I be able to play football after this?' And there were times where I thought there's no way I can get back to that.

"But I think the message that I want to get out to everyone is it is possible - and it is possible to do more than what I've done after you've gone through such trauma.

"It is possible to get back wherever you want to go."

Win £250,000 on Tuesday with Super 6

Win £250,000 on Tuesday with Super 6

FREE TO PLAY: Do not miss your chance to land the £250,000 jackpot for the fifth time this year.

Around Sky