Interview: Matt Targett

Image: Getty via Evening Standard

It doesn’t get any better for a Fulham supporter than seeing your team win at Wembley in style, sealing promotion back to the Premier League. Matt Targett was one of our crucial loan signings during this run and Daniel Smith had the pleasure of catching up with the left back to chat about his time at the club…

DS – Hi Matt, thanks for taking the time to speak to us. I hope your time at Fulham was as enjoyable for you as it was for us watching your team grow?!

MT – My experience at Fulham was fantastic, I cannot speak any higher about the club and the people that work there, they made me feel very welcomed from day one, I loved every single minute of it.

DS – Did you always want to be a left back or were you converted from another position as you got older?

MT – Yeah, I’ve always been a left back since a young age.

DS – How did you get your first opportunity in football with Southampton?

MT – I got scouted for Southampton when I was 7/8 years old playing for my local team where I played two years above my age group.

DS – Did you have any role models growing up and were there any first team players that you looked up to whilst you were in the Saints academy?

MT – The role models I use to love watching were Beckham, Gerrard, Ashley Cole & Roberto Carlos. At Southampton Bale was there at the time, he was good to watch and Wayne bridge too.

DS – Why did you decide to join Fulham on loan last season?

MT – I joined because I needed to go out and play first-team football, out of the bunch of teams that were interested in me Fulham stood out. They were in a great position at the time and were in great form, it was a no-brainer for me.

DS – You had a good understanding with Sess down the left, did this come naturally?

MT – My understanding with Sess was easy. He made a lot of great runs and my job was to get the ball to him in dangerous areas.

DS – Who did you form the closest bonds with?

MT – Closest bonds were, Betts, Kev, Freddo, Ollie, Stef, Tim & Sess!! We did lots of things outside of Football together which was great.

DS – You got off to a great start with an early goal up at Bolton. Do you remember much about it?

MT – Yeah! I wanted to play a one-two with Sess and he decided to turn and cross, I just gambled and went to the back post. Lucas did well to head it back across to be fair.

DS – What was Jokanovic like to play for and who was the person that took charge of most training sessions?

MT – Jokanovic was amazing to play for!! A really good manager and I believe one day he will be the manager of a top 4 side. He and his assistant took most of the sessions.

DS – You took a knock during the Sunderland game and was forced to come off. Did you recover from this or did you finish the season not fully fit?

MT – My knock against Sunderland was painful, but the manager needed me to play so I did. I wasn’t 100% fit from then onwards, but I got through it.

DS – It seems a long time ago now but how did you feel at St Andrew’s losing our unbeaten run & more importantly missing the chance to go up automatically? Were you confident that we would turn it around and come again in the playoffs?

MT – Birmingham away, we were excited, but we knew Cardiff always have an ugly way of getting the job done. It was a very hot day and they didn’t water the pitch, so it made it difficult for us to play our normal passing game. They worked so much harder than us and they wanted it more!! The dressing room was down after the game, but we knew we had to pick ourselves up and go again in the playoffs. Derby away, we were confident of getting a positive result! We had plenty of chances to win that game, but we were not clinical enough!! We were always confident that we would beat them back at the Cottage!! Thankfully we did! They were very defensive.

DS – Who gave the team talk at Wembley and what was it like on the morning of the game?

MT – Kev gave the team talk, he’s a true leader! In the morning I had mixed emotions, nervous and very excited.

DS – Did you have any fears of dropping the trophy on the balcony during the presentation?!

MT – Hahaha no, I didn’t think I would drop the trophy.

DS – Not including the playoffs, what was your favourite match from last season?

MT – Favourite match was Millwall away. Best atmosphere I’ve played in. They were on a great run to, so it was nice to end that.

DS – Let’s finish with Wembley, it was a day that both supporters and staff will never forget. Best day of your career so far?

MT – Wembley… what a day out!! First half was incredible, we bossed the game and played very well! Second half they were the better team. They pinned us in our half! Grealish was coming into the game and started causing lots of problems. Then Denis got sent off, so we knew we had to defend for our lives. Everyone was putting their bodies on the line. Best day of my life!

DS – Finally mate, not that you are allowed either, but we ask everyone this. So, when you retire will it be a pie or pasty, which filling?

MT – No comment I guess.