By Jonty Banks

13th Mar, 2023 | 7:30am

Danny Mills proven wrong about Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings after transformation under Unai Emery

Tyrone Mings has quickly become the heart of Unai Emery’s new era at Aston Villa, and his ability in possession of the ball has dramatically improved since the Spaniard’s arrival at the club.

Mings helped Villa stretch their unbeaten run in the Premier League to three matches with a hard-fought 1-1 draw against West Ham at the London Stadium (Sunday, 12 March).

And although the England international’s defensive contributions were as important as ever to Emery, his ability to build up attacks from the base of Villa’s defence was equally decisive.

The Mings that has blossomed since Emery’s arrival is a far cry from the player who lost the captaincy under Steven Gerrard, missed out on the Qatar World Cup with England and was branded “terrible” on the ball by talkSPORT pundit Danny Mills (27 September 2022).

Before Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions squad was named for the World Cup, there were many question marks surrounding the choice of centre-backs, including Mings, and who would be granted a spot on the plane.

When Mills was asked why Mings isn’t an option, he said: “Because he’s terrible. I think Maguire is better on the ball.”

Despite scathing criticism such as this being launched at Mings from large portions of the media, the defender has knuckled down and improved his game ten-fold – so much so that he now stands a brilliant chance of being named in Southgate’s squad for the upcoming international break.

On Sunday, the 30-year-old defender completed the most passes of any player on the pitch (89) and a season-high for himself. It wasn’t just the sheer number of passes he played but his success rate of 88.8%, which is even more impressive for a player who is supposedly “terrible” on the ball. [WhoScored]

Over the course of Villa’s last three games (Everton, Crystal Palace and West Ham), the former Bournemouth man has accumulated a total of 232 passes – a team-high over this period.

When compared to three of the club’s matches during this Premier League season against Everton, Crystal Palace and Arsenal, the improvement is stark. During these three games, Mings only managed to string together 164 passes at a success rate of 80%.

The transformation of Mings’ passing ability under Emery has been remarkable to see, and he now looks fully equipped to take this form onto the international stage.

In other Aston Villa news, the future of this loanee hangs in the balance as contract talks await.