Tyrone Mings has cemented himself as a regular at Aston Villa again
After falling out of favour at Aston Villa earlier this season, Tyrone Mings is back impressing at the heart of Steven Gerrard’s defence.
The centre-back played in only two of Villa’s opening four Premier League games but now appears to have cemented himself as a regular starter once again.
The West Midlands outfit have endured a difficult start to the season, managing just seven points — though Mings has played the full 90 minutes on the three occasions they have avoided defeat.
Ahead of Villa’s clash with Leeds United at Elland Road, we assess his season so far — and his chances of an England recall.
Losing the captaincy
On the eve of the season, news broke that Mings had been replaced as Villa captain, with Gerrard opting to hand the armband to midfielder John McGinn instead
The ex-Rangers boss then named the defender on the bench for Villa’s season opener against promoted Bournemouth, starting with Ezri Konsa and new signing Diego Carlos instead.
The decision rather backfired, with Villa limping to a disappointing 2-0 defeat.
Carlos has since suffered a serious Achilles tendon injury, however, opening the door for Mings to reclaim his spot — and the Englishman appears intent on grasping his chance with both hands.
Gerrard recently told reporters that his reason for taking the captaincy away from Mings was to allow the defender to focus on his own game, believing it would lead to improved performances.
After the 1-0 win over Southampton — in which Mings played the full 90 minutes — he expanded on his decision.
Gerrard said: “I put that noise on Tyrone [by taking the captaincy off him].
“The reason I did that was, when I inherited the boys, there was a lot of noise around Tyrone Mings and I felt it was affecting his performances and his consistency.
“The idea was to take that away from him so he can focus on him more and not worry about other players in the team and other roles within the team.
“I said, ‘Just solely focus on you, Tyrone, and bring your attributes to the table consistently,’ because he’s got them without a doubt.
“He can get better and better but Tyrone needs to focus on Tyrone and that will help him, in my opinion.”
Tyrone Mings has cemented himself in the Aston Villa team
Mings has played just 489 minutes of a possible 630 in the Premier League this season but when he has been on the field, he has wasted little time making an impact.
Only three players in the division have won possession in their defensive third at a quicker rate than his 5.4 times per 90 minutes — Nelson Semedo, Tyrick Mitchell and Fred.
With the Villans regularly being forced to defend deep, Mings has done his utmost to snuff out opposition advances and ensure his side get back on the ball.
When in doubt
Tyrone Mings has been clearing a lot of balls that come into the box
Mings has also not been afraid to simply get the ball out of the danger zone when he has felt it necessary, ranking eighth across the entire Premier League for clearances per 90 minutes.
The central defender has been similarly imperious in the air, making three headed clearances per 90 — a tally only five others can better.
While clearing the ball is perhaps not conducive to implementing a possession-based system, it demonstrates Mings’ proactive nature at the back perfectly.
When playing on instinct, the Villa No5 will do anything necessary to relieve the pressure on his goal.
Mings missed out on an England call-up for the latest round of Nations League fixtures.
John Stones, Fikayo Tomori, Harry Maguire, Eric Dier, Conor Coady and Marc Guehi were all named in the 28-man squad ahead of the Villa man.
Tyrone Mings is putting up impressive defensive numbers
However, all of those six players are naturally right-footed, giving the left-footed Mings an edge on his rivals.
If he is able to perform to a similar level as his competitors, that extra string to his bow may just tip the scales in his favour when it comes to a spot in Southgate’s World Cup squad.