WWhen Tyrone Mings describes his forearm hit against Austria center forward Sasa Kalajdzic in England’s Euro 2020 preparation match last Wednesday, he makes no apologies for the cynicism, the lack of mercy. Otherwise.
“Football is very soft these days, you can’t get away with it,” says the Aston Villa midfielder, although he did get away with it. Austria was breaking down the left and as Kalajdzic makes his run into the box, Mings stands his ground before throwing his left arm into his opponent’s face, sending him to the ground.
The VAR would surely have awarded a penalty and sent off Mings and there was much concern about what would have happened if the flash point had been in the Euro, which starts for England against Croatia on Sunday.
Mings was not concerned. “I was not lucky, no, because I knew there was no VAR,” says the 28-year-old with a fierce look. “It was not [a red card], was that? We can go back to many different occasions in my career and you could say, ‘If there was VAR in that game, I would have been sent off.’
The old joke is that “yes” is the most important word in soccer. If the referee had seen him, Mings admits, “maybe” he would have gotten the red card. “If there had been VAR, absolutely, it would have given away a penalty,” he says.
It is unclear if Mings was able to assess the lines of sight of the referee and his assistant, but the play felt very risky. Mings doesn’t see it that way. “As a defender, I have done it many times in my career: when a center is about to enter, he blocks the forward,” he says. “That is not against the rules. But that one over there was probably too aggressive. “
So, a small concession. But Mings wants to make a broader point and he feels it is worth doing and acting when the final starts. “Being smart on the street is a big part of the game,” he says. “You look at other nations and they are masters of the dark arts, staying on the floor longer than necessary, delaying reboots. Being crafty is also sometimes what pushes you to the limit because it kills the opposition and breaks its flow and rhythm.
“Everything is going to have to come together for us to win the tournament. There are other things that will also be important. “
Mings is quite scathing when he brings up the subject of England’s defense in preparation games, first Austria, then Romania on Sunday which ended with 1-0 victories. “The defense might not have been as safe as it would have liked,” he says, referring to the media. “But we kept two clean sheets, so we are delighted with that.”
True, but even Gareth Southgate, with more emphasis on Romania, said that collectively the defense needed to improve. It seems that certain better teams would punish England if they were offered the same opportunities.
“Absolutely, the opposition had more opportunities, especially in the second game, than we would have liked to give and if you give better teams those kinds of opportunities, we would be punished and, perhaps, we would not have as many chances to go. forward, ”says Mings. “We are aware that we have to be better.”
Mings finds himself a central figure in the discussion of how that can be achieved. He had a poor game against Romania and with Harry Maguire expected to miss the Croatia game as he feels his way back from ankle ligament damage, Southgate has to decide if he can trust Mings alongside John Stones in the middle. of the four defenses. Otherwise, and if you feel the same way for Conor Coady and Ben White, you will revert to a three-man defense, which would have ramifications for the number of attack-minded players you can line up.
“I don’t really care where I play – he went [centre] a four and the left of a three are very, very similar positions, ”says Mings. “The only thing you have different is that you have an extra center half that can cover, so sometimes the outside center halves can step in and go and be a little more aggressive, whereas in a four you have to be a little more. . more cautious. Honestly, I am equally happy playing in both. “
Mings can’t hide his excitement just being here, and at times like these it must be hard not to reflect on a career that saw Southampton rejected at 16 and playing part-time out of the league while working as a mortgage consultant. He was in Yate Town in 2011-12, three notches down in the National League, and in the summer of 2012 he thought about quitting the game and going into the mortgage industry full time.
Mings, however, moved to Ipswich after impressing by Chippenham and has steadily promoted to his first major tournament, overcoming setbacks such as the knee injury he sustained six minutes after his Premier League debut with Bournemouth in August. 2015, which kept it out. for more than a year.
“It’s a setup, this,” says Mings, glancing at the base of St George’s Park in England. “We are all fans of England and we watch the tournaments every time they come, so seeing what happens behind the scenes and being a part of it is just a dream come true. But at the same time I have to have my professional head and realize that we are here to try to win the tournament ”.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism