Smith: Targett must earn his place

By Graham Hill

NEW Villa left-back Matt Targett has been told he must earn the right to be first choice ahead of Neil Taylor.

Villa boss Dean Smith has favoured the Welshman so far ahead of the £11million signing from Southampton.

Taylor’s inclusion against Tottenham and Bournemouth raised eyebrows as it was thought that Villa’s new face would be favoured ahead of some of last season’s key men.

But Smith went with Taylor at left-back and Ahmed Elmohamady on the opposite side of the field.

And with Elmohamady being awarded a new contract on the eve off the Everton game, he shows no signs of swapping him for Frenchman Freddie Guilbert at the moment.

Also, there were no tell tale signs that Taylor is about to be dropped to make way for Targett.

Next week’s Carabao Cup tie at Crewe may be a different story.

But for now, Smith is making a strong case to keep Taylor in his plans.

Smith told reporters on Thursday: “Neil Taylor’s performances have been good in the first two games, defensively and going forward.

“He had a couple of chances last week. The idea is to bring in quality players who can grab their shirts off them.

“I’ve had conversations with Matt Targett to say he’s got to earn that shirt off Neil Taylor. I felt Neil Taylor’s two performances so far have been good ones.

“It’s about players playing at the top level to keep their shirts but the others have got to play at a top level to grab them off them.”

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