After the recent woe of England’s defence in the past few European Qualifiers, it seems likely that Villa’s Tyrone Mings will get his first England cap in the Vasil Levski National Stadium against Bulgaria.
MOMS had previously written when the latest England squad was announced, that it was likely Mings would get his chance against Bulgaria, although it was in the context of England expecting to confirm qualification in Prague in their previous qualifier.
While England experienced their first loss in a qualifier since 2009, getting beat 2-1 by the Czechs, they will still be confident of qualifying. Southgate will perhaps consider taking Everton’s centre-back Michael Keane out of the firing line against Bulgaria, after unconvincing performances against both Kosovo and the Czech Republic.
With Josh Stone out of the equation in recent England games due to injury, it’s a perfect chance for Mings to impress Gareth Southgate and stake his claim, after an impressive start to the season with Villa in the Premier League.
The Villa man is perhaps one of the most in-form of England’s defensive players, with Harry Macquire and Keane’s club form with Manchester United and Everton, respectively, currently not at its best. Southgate himself admitted that their club form and low confidence had “maybe” been carried over to their international duty.
There are reports on the BBC and Sky Sports suggesting that Southgate may revert to a three- man defence against Bulgaria, with Mings potentially taking up the left-side berth.
If he does get the nod, Mings will become the 73rd Villa player to represent England. No doubt, Mings first cap will also trigger an add-on clause that Villa potentially agreed with Bournemouth, as part of the summer transfer deal.
In terms of the defender being worth his first England cap, regardless of any Villa bias, considering England’s recent defensive struggles and what Southgate is seeking from his centre-backs, Mings to play against Bulgaria is surely a non-brainer?