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2019-2020 Player Preview: Neil Taylor

Someone needs to let the full back score a goal!

Charlton Athletic v Aston Villa - Pre-Season Friendly
“Maybe this will work to get me a goal”
Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

233 matches in the Championship and Premier League. Zero goals. It is time for that to change for Neil Taylor. It almost did last year when Leeds United were told to let Aston Villa score a goal (long story), but Albert Adomah scored it after a defender, Pontus Jansson, tried to defend against it. That could have been Neil’s magical moment!

But alas — it is far more likely that Taylor will have to settle for being a solid veteran defender who will play backup to newcomer Matt Targett. Taylor can feel a little hard done if that is the case because the Welsh fullback really improved down the promotion stretch last season under Dean Smith — helped by form of Anwar El Ghazi in front of him.

Smith has to be happy to know that he has a solid back up option if Targett doesn’t settle in well, hits some rough form, or picks up an injury. Taylor still has two remaining years on his contract so he will have to adjust to less game time and more of a mentoring rotation role. But if his public profile is anything to go on — he has the maturity to do that and help the 23-year-old Targett grow at Aston Villa.