It was just two weeks ago that Tyrone Mings put in a performance against Everton that promoted him to international honours.
The 2-0 win for Mings’s Aston Villa side over the Toffees was not just a great example of clinical finishing (Villa only had three shots on target) but also an example of how to defend effectively.
This was not the game that propelled Mings to an England call up – Gareth Southgate and his staff will have assessed the 26-year-old prior to this – but it was one that tipped the scales in his favour.
According to WhoScored’s analysis of the match, Mings was Villa’s second-best performer, his rating of 7.22 only eclipsed by midfielder John McGinn (7.54), who set up Ahmed El Ghazi’s stoppage-time goal.
He won three of his seven aerial battles and won his only tackle of the game.
His passing stats don’t look impressive on first viewing – he succeeded in 59% of his passes, the third-lowest in the Villa side excluding substitutes.
Mings is not the archetypal ball-playing defender that we so often see in modern football.
His opposite number in this game, Michael Keane, completed 88% of his passes.
Keane started for England against Bulgaria on Saturday and performed admirably against an attack which, in truth, didn’t pose a huge threat.
But it has always been Southgate’s intentions to play out from the back – Mings is dissimilar to a John Stones in this regard.
What Mings does offer, though, is a defensive presence.
He is 196cm tall, wins the majority of his aerial battles and is a big threat at set-pieces as well.
And in an England side, that struggles to defend set-pieces in the main, Mings is a valuable asset.
His work in the tackle is top-notch, and like most good defenders, he doesn’t need to make many.
When you look at some of the goals England conceded in the Nations League semi-finals, it is no surprise that Southgate may be looking at having a different defensive option in the squad.
Mings completed nine clearances in the Everton game and has a no-nonsense style that could prove invaluable for England when they come up against bigger sides.
And with a full season in the Premier League under his belt come May 2020, there is no reason why Mings can’t be in contention for a starting place when Euro 2020 comes around.