Quietly going about his business, Matt Targett is starting to turn heads in regards to a potential England call up.
Words: Alan Wilson | @VillAlan54
Born in Eastleigh, Hampshire, it was always likely that Matt Targett would join Southampton’s academy, and did so at the age of eight. After making excellent progress through the club’s famed academy, he was named Southampton’s Young Player of the Season at the end of the 2014-15 season.
He gained the attention of a number of clubs with some impressive performances, and around six weeks before his 24th birthday, he joined Aston Villa. The only real experience that fans had of Matt Targett was his involvement at Fulham in the season before their promotion-winning one.
Targett has since been wowing Villans with his swashbuckling style, seeing him raiding down the left wing at high speeds. His fast developing understanding with Jack Grealish has seen the pair linking up and causing serious problems for opposition defences.
The left-back looks every bit the modern defender too – able to quickly get back into defence, win tackles and break up opposition moves. His fearless style of tackling sees him take no prisoners, and has increased his stock wit fans in a very short space of time.
On top of impressive form, he has delivered two goals from raids down the left wing. A breathtaking ‘last kick of the game’ winner against Brighton that saw Aston Villa snatch a vital three points, and a fierce left-footed drive that helped to secure Villa’s place in the Carabao Cup Final.
What comes next for Matt Targett? His consistency and eye-catching form has led to him being touted for a call up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad. Southgate is spoiled for choice with candidates for the left hand side of defence, with Leicester’s Ben Chilwell, Manchester United’s returned-to-form Luke Shaw and Danny Rose all representing good shouts for the role.
The most likely first choice is Chilwell, who’s consistent performances for Leicester City has helped them maintain a steady push for the top four and a Champions League spot.
With less game time, Targett boasts similar statistics to Chilwell – but also has a number of stand-outs to his name too. The former Southampton defender has created the 10th most ‘Big chances’ in the league this season – putting him on the same number as Salah, Mane and Sterling.
In fact, Targett sits at the top of the table for the most big chances, the most key passes, and the most expected assists of any English left-back available to Southgate.
This, and his regular game-time, should surely put him in with a shout of a call-up.
Currently, there is a massive swell of opinion that Jack Grealish must get his first call-up, for Englands upcoming pre-Euro friendlies against Italy and Denmark at the end of March.
If Southgate does select Grealish, then he could do far worse than play his left-wing ‘partner in crime’ Matty Targett with him and test their ability to cause huge problems down the left flank for the Three Lions.