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Matt Maher: Aston Villa's Tyrone Mings has a case to feel hard done by

Gareth Southgate’s squad selection for the final round of matches before the World Cup brought familiar complaints at the England boss once more overlooking Max Kilman.


              
Aston Villa's Tyrone Mings applauds the fans at the end of the Premier League match at Villa Park, Birmingham. Picture date: Friday September 16, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Villa. Photo credit should read: Isaac Parkin/PA Wire.


RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised 
audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Aston Villa's Tyrone Mings applauds the fans at the end of the Premier League match at Villa Park, Birmingham. Picture date: Friday September 16, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Villa. Photo credit should read: Isaac Parkin/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

Yet there is another player in this region whose omission felt more puzzling.

While Kilman’s talent means international recognition is surely just a matter of time should he maintain his current standards, Tyrone Mings was an England squad regular for the best part of three years but has fallen out of favour at the wrong time.

When the Villa defender was first omitted by Southgate at the end of last season, general consensus saw the decision as fair, after a domestic campaign which, while far from terrible, contained too many high-profile mistakes.

Southgate was hardly the only one having doubts. Villa boss Steven Gerrard relieved Mings of the captaincy chiefly to take some pressure off the centre-back and allow him to concentrate more on his own game.

Early indications are it is working. Though Mings’ omission for the opening day defeat at Bournemouth dominated the headlines for the opening week of Villa’s season, his form since returning to the team has been strong and among the biggest positives in an otherwise underwhelming start for Villa. Still, it has not been sufficient to earn an international recall.

One of the difficulties of being England manager for so long as Southgate is it becomes easy to contradict past comments. So having previously stressed the need for players to be performing regularly in the Premier League, there is still room for Harry Maguire despite the latter playing just 10 minutes in the top flight for Manchester United since August 13.

Southgate’s would argue Maguire has been a key part of England’s success since 2018 and it is true the 29-year-old has rarely let the Three Lions down.

But then neither has Mings. Though his sample size might be smaller, at least compared to Maguire, England have kept clean sheets in 14 of his 17 appearances. Perhaps more pertinently, he also has experience of playing in a major tournament, something only Maguire, John Stones and the rejuvenated Eric Dier can claim from those central defenders selected for the latest squad.

Though Mings and others on the fringes still have time before Qatar 2022, the Villa man can count himself unlucky to be in such a position.

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