Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard comments on Matt Targett’s future following arrival of Lucas Digne

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Lucas Digne came straight into the XI replacing Matt Targett for the game against Manchester United

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard has broken his silence on the decision to drop Matt Targett for Lucas Digne during last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Manchester United.

Gerrard claims the young English defender’s reaction to coming out of the team has been ‘fantastic’ and says if anything, it’s made his training even more impressive.

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Despite Targett being a main stay in the side over the course of the last few years - even winning players’ player of the season last campaign, the new man dislodged him from the starting eleven within days of his arrival.

It was a decision expected by most due to the fee paid for Digne and the pedigree that he brings with him but it still seemed really unfortunate from Targett’s perspective.

The benching was just the second time this season the 26-year-old has been taken out of the eleven but the boss says he’s incredibly proud with how the left- handled himself, adding that if anything - he’s now more motivated than ever.

“Matt’s an incredible professional, great kid,” Gerrard explained.

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“We’ve been delighted with what he’s given since we’ve come in, on the pitch, on the training pitch.

“This week we’ve been even more impressed with him because obviously he came out of the team but his reaction has been fantastic. He seems to be taking the challenge on.

“I’m the lucky one because I’ve got two top class left-backs. Matt’s pedigree, we believe he’s a really strong Premier League left-back.

“To have Lucas Digne and Matt Targett makes my life and my job a lot easier so we’re delighted with that.

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“We’ve set the challenge and the gauntlet to Matt to take the fight to Lucas for the position and during the month of February the games are going to come thick and fast so we’re going to need two top left-backs. That’s the way I see it.

“I’m happy with having both options.

“But the reaction from Matt from coming out of the team has been top class but we expected nothing different because he’s been really good since we’ve come in.”

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