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Neil Taylor: Players are giving Aston Villa boss Dean Smith a big headache

Neil Taylor admits he would not want to be in Dean Smith’s shoes when it comes to picking Villa’s team for the play-offs.

Neil Taylor
Neil Taylor

The full-back reckons players are giving the boss a major headache when it comes to selecting his best XI for the big games ahead.

Villa have kept alive hopes of a return to the Premier League thanks to a 12-match unbeaten run, during which nearly every member of the squad has at some point played a part.

The greatest competition for places is arguably in defence where Smith has used five different centre-back pairings in his team’s charge up the Championship table.

Taylor said: “That shows you how well people have done. Jed Steer has come in as goalkeeper for example, the third or fourth who has played this season.

“You have to be ready. That is the Championship. There are so many games and injuries will happen. It takes the entire squad.

“I would not like to be the manager, picking the team come the end of the season when everyone is fit. But it is a nice problem to have.”

Taylor sees belief as key to the turnaround which has seen Villa go from having one of the Championship’s leakiest defences, to one of the strongest.

The Wales international added: “As a team we defend a lot better. We are set up to win the ball higher up the pitch and win the ball quicker on turnovers. That makes a big difference to how you defend as a team.

“Obviously we made great additions, the likes of Tyrone, and they have made a big difference to the team.

“Jack coming back, everyone talks about, but he is the best player in the league and is going to make a difference.

“For me personally, I think as a team we have defended loads better. If you look at Jed, how many big saves does he have to make every game? Fingers crossed, it is not too many.”

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