If Martin Laursen was sliced bread, Tyrone Mings would be the best thing since. His initial loan move turned heads in the Villa fanbase and seemed an odd exercise back in January, but ever since Tyrone stepped onto the pitch in a Villa shirt, everything changed.
A sluggish-yet-likeable defence found a hero capable of lifting the entire team. Tyrone himself found a footballing home - and his every touch became adored. A ‘Lionheart’ reference is the incredible easy one to make here, but Mings embodies everything shown in the crest on his chest - and more so in Villa’s discarded motto; ‘Prepared’.
He’s had to bounce back from a lot. Two major yet unconnected injuries gave pundits a cracked foundation to dispute his ability. Using skin-deep analysis and recency bias, amateur and professional pundits were all to happy to cast off Mings as a ‘crock’ at twenty-five. Even more so when changed his position and moved centrally after a professional career spent on the flank. While this may have gotten to him, Mings has proven a lot of people wrong.
From the outside looking in, Tyrone Mings is the chaser to the Micah Richards shot. A promising full-back moving centrally to better focus their attributes. This should have happened before - and while chronic injuries beat Richards - Mings hasn’t struggled at all and has bounced from strength to strength.
It’d be an injustice to simply focus on Ming’s playing ability though. On social media, the giant at the centre of Villa’s defence has shown his true promise - as a caring and kind human being; almost at complete odds with his role on the pitch as a ball-winner. This balance - the tremendous might shown on the field and the heart shown away from it - are carving Tyrone’s legend at Villa. It’s very easy to parasocially attach yourself to Mings - because he always seems to open himself up. The flip-side of this is that it’s perhaps too easy to almost venture too close to his ‘personal space’ online - but he seemingly handles it well.
Despite his success so far at AVFC, there has been plenty of criticism aimed at Mings and the transfer fee paid by people who are all too happy to hold up a graph while pointing and laughing until someone beats them in the face with context.
Context is key to understanding Mings and his transfer to Villa - he’s beaten a lot so far just to get here, and he means so much to Aston Villa. Happily, I’d have allowed Villa to give the world for Mings - because he means as much to us as the moon means to the sun. It’s overly dramatic, but there’s a growing feeling that this Villa side are almost nothing without the personalities of figures like Mings. He, like a number of other players in this squad, is priceless.
Tyrone Mings is everything that we believe him to be, Villa fans, and right now he’s one step from God. In a short Aston Villa career that has shot Mings into the stratosphere, truly anything is possible from this point onwards.