Tyrone Mings is deserving of England call-up after recent Aston Villa form under Unai Emery
Gareth Southgate has always placed an onus on recent form when selecting his England team, and if this is truly the case, Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings should be a shoo-in for a spot when he names his squad on Thursday afternoon (16 March).
After being stripped of the Villa captaincy at the beginning of the season by Steven Gerrard and missing out on the Qatar World Cup, not many would have blamed Mings for feeling sorry for himself and, as such, dropping his standards.
However, under new manager Unai Emery, the centre-back has completely transformed his game and deserves a call-up to the international frame following his rich vein of form.
When compared to some of the centre-backs who were selected for Southgate’s squad in Qatar, the former Bournemouth man is head and shoulders above.
Since Emery’s first game at the helm on 6 November against Manchester United, Mings has recorded 55 clearances, compared to Conor Coady’s 23 and Tottenham centre-back Eric Dier’s 43. [WhoScored]
The Villa defender has also registered 20 interceptions, which is more than both his England competitors named above, as well as keeping four clean sheets in the Premier League since Emery’s arrival.
However, it is not just Mings’ defensive work that has improved significantly in recent months, but his controlled passing ability from the base of the defence.
As per Emery’s needs, the 30-year-old is required to attempt to build up Villa’s attacks from back-to-front, keeping hold of possession and waiting for an opening to appear.
In his last five Premier League games, Mings has recorded a total of 329 passes at a success rate of 87.2%, which is more than Coady’s 272 passes and Dier’s total of 277.
Considering the Spurs defenders’ ability in possession of the ball – having previously played a central-midfield role for England – his inferior stats will surprise many and highlights the strides that Mings has taken in his game over the New Year.
If Southgate wants to play a back-five who are comfortable stringing together passages of play from the back, there are few better options than Mings right now.
In other Aston Villa news, a “silly offer” could lead to Ollie Watkins quitting Villa Park in the summer.