Gareth Southgate may only be 48, driving a new breed of English managers. However, the ex-Middlesbrough skipper is pretty conservative in terms of an invite. Southgate retains a spine of his squad, while frequently injecting freshness. Mason Mount, Tyrone Mings, Aaron Wan-Bissaka are beneficiaries ahead of next month’s Euro 2020 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Kosovo.
Of the trio, Mings’ call-up was never envisaged. For Mount, it is a reward for a fairytale start to life at Chelsea, finding the net twice in four appearances. The 20-year-old was in the mix for the Nations League matches against Croatia and Spain in 2018. He even trained with the seniors before last year’s World Cup.
Wan-Bissaka’s elevation to Southgate’s squad is a first for the 21-year-old, who joined Manchester United from Crystal Palace this summer in a £50million deal. Like Mount, Wan-Bissaka has dazzled at Old Trafford, racking up the most successful duels than any Premier League full-back and second for tackles.
Mings didn’t believe his England call-up when it came on Thursday, joking: “I thought it was a prank. With it being the day of the announcement, it would have been the perfect time to do it. I haven’t played for England at any level. International recognition is obviously a dream come true.”
As surprising as it may seem, Mings rated his spot in Southgate’s team. Whether or not he can cut the mustard remains unclear. After three matches, only Wolves’ Willy Boly has garnered better Whoscored rating than the Villa man. This is even more impressive considering Dean Smith’s side picked up just one victory.
Mings has made 32 clearances this term – the most in the division. Norwich City’s Ben Godfrey comes in a distant having cleared his lines 21 times. He is also top of the charts when it comes to blocks, with seven. His headed clearances (15) is also a League-high. Beyond the stats, though, the 6ft 4in defender has been a colossal presence in claret and blue.
He is strong, fast and versatile with an intimidating demeanour. He added steel and stability to Villa’s backline, with his ball-playing abilities, composure in possession and goal contribution invaluable.
Barely six months ago, Mings was out of favour at Bournemouth and headed to Villa Park on loan for the rest of the 2018/19 campaign. Since then he propelled Smith’s side to promotion and signed permanently for £26.5 million from the Cherries. He has started all three of Villa’s first three fixtures and is seemingly one of the first names on the team-sheet.
Southgate has injury doubts over John Stones at central defence; whilst Luke Shaw is out and Ben Chilwell is rated doubtful at left-back. Given that Mings can cover on the left-hand side of the defence, his inclusion in the latest squad would make perfect sense.
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