Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings is in contention to make his England debut during the coming European Championship qualifiers against Bulgaria and Kosovo. Having started all four Premier League fixtures since joining the club on a permanent basis from Bournemouth for £20m, the 26-year-old would be England’s latest unlikely international.
Mings struggled to establish himself on the south coast following an £8m transfer from Ipswich, contributing to last season’s loan at then-Championship Villa. He nevertheless played a hugely significant role in their successful promotion push.
If it is against Kosovo, on Tuesday at St Mary’s, that one-time Villa central defender Gareth Southgate first selects him, Mings’ potential career highlight will come at the scene of his greatest disappointment. It was Southampton who released him at the age of 16 owing to concerns over his height – Mings has since developed an imposing 6ft 5ins frame.
A period in non-league football with Yate Town – when he also worked as a barman – and Chippenham Town, where he supplemented his income as a mortgage advisor, followed before the £10,000 transfer to Ipswich that proved Mings’ making. Similarly to Jamie Vardy and Nick Pope – and, to a lesser degree, fellow England squad member Harry Maguire – Mings, called up alongside the also-uncapped Mason Mount and James Maddison, is on course to play for England having taken a rather less-trodden path.