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Newcastle need to get the most out of their Matt Targett loan deal

Although it wasn’t the sort of statement signing for major money that Newcastle United are now associated with, the Magpies’ late swoop to take Aston Villa left-back Matt Targett on loan for the rest of the campaign could prove to be a masterstroke.

On the chalkboard

The 26-year-old had been a regular for Steven Gerrard’s side this campaign, making 17 Premier League appearances, but the signing of Lucas Digne from Everton meant that Targett’s game time was going to be significantly reduced.

It was a harsh blow for Villa’s player of the season last campaign, who was subject to immense praise from club legend Gabriel Agbonlahor last season, saying: “In the last 15 years, he’s the best left-back Villa have had.

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“Even during my time and the left-backs I played with, I look at Matt Targett and he’s the best we’ve had in the last 15 years since I made my debut.

“He’s so good going forward, he has a good connection with Jack Grealish on that side. He can defend, he’s proved this season he can defend against the top teams.

“He’s really comfortable on the ball, if he can continue to put in these performances then there is 100 per cent no reason why he can’t get into the England squad.”

However, the Englishman will still be able to complete a full top-flight campaign as a regular through his temporary stay in the North-East.

There are certainly some areas of Eddie Howe’s squad where numbers are limited, however, Newcastle now have four recognised left-backs in their ranks with Targett surely the best option.

Matt Ritchie has been Howe’s first choice for the majority of the season, making 16 league appearances so far, whilst Paul Dummett (two) and Jamal Lewis (five) have had quiet campaigns.

When you compare both Ritchie and Targett, their core statistics are quite similar, with the latter making one more league appearance this season and both having two-goal involvements each in the league.

However, the Scotland international has been part of a much worse side, particularly regarding defence, than his new teammate.

The Tyneside outfit are the Premier League’s second-worst defenders having conceded 43 goals in 21 games, whilst Villa have let in 11 fewer in the same space of time.

Moreover, Ritchie is yet to keep a clean sheet in the top-flight this season whilst Targett has three, which is arguably a reason why the former hasn’t featured for Newcastle in the league since mid-December.

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Alongside the Englishman, Newcastle added Kieran Trippier to their squad on the other side of the defence in January, another player who could certainly prove vital in the final months of the season.

Howe is going to have to find a way to improve his side’s defence, otherwise, they could well be on course for a second relegation to the Championship in six years. Having the services of the £35k per week left-back for the rest of the season could prove to be the deciding factor.

AND in other news, “From what I’ve heard”: Waugh drops behind-scenes PIF claim that’ll intrigue NUFC fans…

Article title: Newcastle need to get the most out of their Matt Targett loan deal

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