Is £11.5m Matt Targett stuck on the sidelines at Aston Villa?

Dean Smith, manager of Aston Villa looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Middlesbrough at Villa Park on March 16, 2019 in Birmingham, England.

Premier League newcomers Aston Villa paid big to sign left-back Matt Targett from Southampton but Neil Taylor showed his class against Tottenham.

Kyle Walker-Peters of Tottenham Hotspur and Neil Taylor of Aston Villa during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on August 10,...

The prospect of Neil Taylor being asked to stop Lucas Moura, Harry Kane and co in their tracks would have had the more pessimistic Aston Villa nails biting their fingernails. Yet, in hindsight, they needn’t have worried.

A much-maligned left-back who has spent most of his time at Villa under the spotlight with fans and pundits aplenty clamouring for an upgrade, Taylor certainly silenced the critics in North London.

The Welsh international rolled back the years to his Swansea City heyday with a performance full of tenacity and belligerence on the left flank.


Centre-halves Bjorn Engels and Tyrone Mings may have dominated the post-match appraisal despite Villa falling to a late 3-1 defeat but, with four tackles to his name, Taylor’s performance should not be overlooked.

Watching from the bench as Taylor crunched into tackles and made life difficult for Spurs’ star-studded forward line, Matt Targett must have wondered when his time will come.

New Signing Matt Targett of Aston Villa poses at Bodymoor Heath training ground on June 30, 2019 in Birmingham, England.

An £11.5 million signing from Southampton (Express and Star), the England U21 international was expected to immediately take Taylor’s place in Dean Smith’s starting XI.

Instead, he could find himself on the outside looking in with the 30-year-old providing the most timely reminder of his top flight credentials.

Tottenham Hotspur's Brazilian midfielder Lucas Moura (R) takes a shot past Aston Villa's Welsh defender Neil Taylor during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham...

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