Tyrone Mings continues to improve, earns deserved first England call-up
Background Image Via: Geograph/Richard Humphrey. CC BY-SA 2.0.
Tyrone Mings certainly hasn't had an easy ride. After spending his youth career at Southampton and Bristol Rovers, the then-teenager would move away due to a lack of opportunities, playing for non-league pair Yate Town and Chippenham Town between 2011/12. The Englishman would have to build his way up the footballing pyramid - earning vital experience along the way.
A three-year stint at Ipswich Town, in which Mings improved year-on-year, led to AFC Bournemouth spending £8million for his services. He'd play just 22 games for The Cherries over a four-year span. Major injury didn't help, neither did an unwarranted stamp on Zlatan Ibrahimovic, for which the centre-back would miss five games. His struggling time on the South Coast would prove to be too much to recover from, though upon a loan move to Villa Park, Mings would immediately find himself somewhere he'd feel right at home.
Aston Villa supporters took to Mings like a duck to water. The Holte End would have their new cult hero. During an eighteen-game loan spell, the 26-year-old would aid The Villans to an outrageously unlikely promotion. It was inevitable Dean Smith would choose to make Mings' time at Villa Park into a permanent one. Just four games into his Premier League career in the Midlands, it's easy to see why £20million, potentially rising to £25million was spent on his services.
England manager Gareth Southgate has already taken note, too. Mings has been named in the squad to take on Bulgaria and Kosovo. Centre-back is an area where the Three Lions aren't blessed with strength-in-depth. John Stones' injury coupled with Kyle Walker's exclusion, there's an opening for Mings to begin to build a partnership with £80million-man Harry Maguire.
I'm a sucker for a good success story. Jamie Vardy going from non-league to Premier League is fairytale stuff, but Mings playing just four Premier League games for Villa and earning an England call-up is pretty legendary. It's the sort of fable he'll be telling his grandkids about - no matter how successful the Englishman goes on to be.
There are certainly worse places than Villa to make a name for yourself, too. Those fans, and I mean this in a good way, are absolutely mental. They get behind their team through thick and thin and the wall of noise that Villa Park can create is up there with English football's finest; just ask Everton who wilted under the pressure, as the Holte End faithful almost sucked the ball into the back of the net. Mings must be in dreamland that he gets to call that place his home ground.
Now, it's about aiding Villa to maintain their Premier League status. It's not going to be easy. Winning one game from four isn't going to cut it, but as they adjust and adapt, we should start to see an upturn in results. It's about making Villa Park a fortress, it's about preserving those all-important clean-sheets. For that, Mings is essential. He needs to stay fit. he needs to keep a level head and most importantly, he needs to continue defending like the absolute warrior that he is.
Without wanting to look too far into the future, would you be surprised to see Mings become a sought-after commodity if he keeps playing well for another season or two? Definitely not, though Villa, like Leicester City, are a side who can afford to eek the absolute maximum out of a potential buying club due to having plenty of money in the bank themselves...