A tough start to the season for Matt Targett, one where he was thrust into the first team because of a Ryan Bertrand injury, came to a positive end, one that should have Saints fans excited for this young man's future at the club.
Early on in the season, Matt Targett was put in a bit of an awkward and difficult situation. Quite like Maarten Stekelenburg's case, Targett had to start early in the season, while the #1 at his position, Ryan Bertrand, was absent. Early on, Saints weren't good, and Targett played a part in that. Saints were eliminated from the Europa League in the final qualification round, and didn't get the season off correctly.
Targett made ten appearances in the Premier League for Southampton. He scored once, and assisted once.
The youngster was the early scapegoat for the Saints fans who are always looking to throw abuse at some player. But I've already ranted about that before.
The criticism of Targett wasn't necessarily unwarranted. Targett did make mistakes, but had only actually played in three Premier League matches before. Targett wasn't allowed time to develop, and was cast-off early by some fans who don't realize the difference between a U-21 match and a Premier League game. Keep in mind that Targett is 20 years old, and was 19 early in the season.
Not everything was bad though. Once Ronald Koeman began playing in a 3-5-2 formation, the one where Ryan Bertrand shared a back three with Van Dijk and Fonte, Targett was able to play further up in midfield, as a left-sided midfielder and wingback. Targett began to flourish there, and actually was a mainstay in the team for a few weeks.
Had Ronald Koeman not switched back to his more basic formation, some think the young Englishman would've stayed in the team. But playing behind Bertrand with four at the back, Targett moved back out of the team.
Matthew Targett has a bright future, and a great player to look up to in Ryan Bertrand. I'm excited for this young man's future with the club, and with six extra games next season, he'll be called to step up and prove his worth.
SMM FINAL GRADE: 6.5/10
SMM Summary: A difficult start to the season brings the grade down, however, a good showing in with three at the back brings it back up, and was the most impressive part of Targett's season. He's got a VERY bright future.