EXCLUSIVE By Graham Hill
NEW Villa left-back Matt Targett has revealed why he turned down an international career with Scotland – and chose England instead.
Targett was picked by the Scots as an Under-19 player while at Southampton – but was soon persuaded to turn his attention to the Three Lions.
And it was former Villa and Blues player Noel Blake who had a big say in the decision.
Targett signed for Villa this summer after moving from Southampton in an £11million deal.
He did not start at Tottenham on Saturday, but the 23-year-old knows if he can succeed at Villa Park, a step up to the senior England squad is possible after being on the fringes at Southampton.
Targett explained: “ I was doing well for the Saints’ under 23s when I was about 17 or 18, and I wanted recognition from England, but I didn’t come.
“I qualified for Scotland through my mum and grandparents.
“That was a decision that I made, and I was proud to play for Scotland, I was grateful for the opportunity they gave me, but when England came along, I’m from England and that made so much more sense to play for them.
“I started out with Scotland under 19s, and then played for England under 19s and then 20s and 21s. When England called it was a no brainer.”
And he explained it was Blake’s influence that persuaded him.
Targett added: “At the time Noel Blake was the England under 19s manager, and Paul Williams was my under 18 coach with Jason Dodd at Southampton, he spoke to Noel and he wanted me to come and play for England.”