Matt Targett ready to fill Shaw-shaped void at Saints

Friday 25 Jul 2014
Matt Targett in action during pre-season for Southampton

After losing Luke Shaw earlier in the summer, Southampton may not have to look too far for a ready-made replacement.

In 18-year-old Matt Targett new manager Ronald Koeman has another bright, attacking and exciting English left-back at his disposal.

Targett – born into a Southampton-mad family and a supporter practically since birth - is already an England U19 international. 

And he knows he has a chance at securing a regular spot in the starting 11 at a team he loves.

Matt Targett has impressed for England at U19 level

“You hear the phrase all the time, but for me it really would be a dream come true,” he told

“When Luke left it was a case of mixed emotions for me. 

“Obviously I was sad to see him leave as he is a good friend and we’ve grown up together. 

“But on the other hand I know it is a great opportunity to make that position my own.”

Targett is at a club with a record of nurturing and developing talented youngsters into world class professionals, none more so than at left-back – and it is not lost on the youngster.

“It’s inspirational to see what players like Gareth Bale and Luke Shaw have achieved,” he added. “To see Gareth scoring in the final and winning the Champions League with one of the biggest clubs in the world was just incredible.

“I’ve been at the club since I was eight so I was here when Gareth was - and to see what he’s gone on to achieve is something very special. And that he started in my position too, it makes it even more inspirational.”

2014 has been something of a breakthrough for Targett. He made the bench in the Premier League and the League Cup, and although yet to get competitive minutes on the pitch, he has been making his mark in pre-season.

“It’s inspirational to see what players like Gareth Bale and Luke Shaw have achieved”

Matt Targett  

He has started in two of the Saints’ three fixtures so far, completing 45 minutes in the other - and Targett says he is loving life under the new manager.

“At pre-season we do a lot more training than during the regular season," he added. 

"It can be quite intensive and we’re doing morning and evening sessions at the moment – but I’m really enjoying it.

“We do a lot of gym work and generally longer sessions on the training pitch, then as the season gets going it gradually eases off and you get into the routine of matches every few days.  

“At this stage though it’s all about getting back into the swing of things and getting used to the tempo again.

“If you asked me what I’d be happy to have achieved this time next year then I would have hoped to have made my Premier League debut, to have got a few appearances under my belt – and then if I do well, potentially a call-up to the England U20s or even the Under-21s. I’m very excited about next season." 

By Jamie Reid Senior Writer