Southgate happy to welcome Targett into Under-21s

Monday 23 Mar 2015
Matt Targett has been a regular for England U20s this season
England Under-21s boss Gareth Southgate is looking forward to welcoming Matt Targett into his group for the first time.

The Southampton defender was named in Southgate’s squad for next week’s games with Czech Republic and Germany.

He has been a regular in Aidy Boothroyd’s U20s side and the Saints first-team this season, catching the attention of Southgate with one eye on the next Euro campaign which starts later this year.

Czech Republic v England

U21 International Match
7.30pm, Friday 27 March 2015
Litna Stadium, Prague

And with an injury ruling out Jack Robinson for these games and the Euro Finals this summer, head coach Southgate has taken the chance to call him up.

"We've got strength in depth in our younger teams and Matt has done really well in our U20s," revealed Southgate.

"Jack Robinson's injured this time around so we thought it was a good opportunity for Matt to come in because he's also eligible for us in the next campaign."

Targett will be joined in the squad by St. Mary’s team-mate James Ward-Prowse, who returns after missing the last two meet-ups through injury.

And Southgate was quick to pay tribute to the production line at the south coast club, with a number of young Saints littered throughout England’s development teams.

"It's another Southampton player so a great credit to their academy and the characters they produce as well as the players," he added.

"They run a very good programme and recruit good characters.

James Ward-Prowse in action for England Under-21s.

Targett's Southampton team-mate James Ward-Prowse is also back in the squad for March's games with Czech Republic and Germany

"We’ve actually got Matt Crocker, who was academy manager at Southampton, as part of our set-up so we’ve got a bit of an insight and there’s a clear plan there.

"Les [Reed], as technical director is vastly experienced in the game, but there are a lot of good coaches and a really good culture there.

"More than anything else, at the moment, they’ve given youngsters a chance in their first team.

"In the end, we’ve got some really good academies and good young players at the moment but the key is getting a pathway at the end.

"That’s more difficult for some clubs than others, but in Southampton’s case they’ve been brave enough and the players have been good enough to make that step.

England v Germany

U21s International Match
7.45pm, Monday 30 March 2015
The Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough
Live on BT Sport

"Some of those players, Theo [Walcott], Gareth Bale and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, had to break through at League One or Championship level.

"But the guys now have to get into the Premier League, so that’s a tougher ask but [Calum] Chambers, [Luke] Shaw, Ward-Prowse and Targett is an impressive roster of players."

Southgate’s squad fly to Czech Republic on Monday morning, where they will stay for four days in their Euro summer base of Olomouc before moving on to Prague for next Friday’s game with the host nation.

It’s then back to Middlesbrough, where the Three Lions will face Germany at the Riverside Stadium on Monday 30 March. Tickets for that game are still available. Click here for more details.

By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels