Tyrone Mings’ mental health suffered as the Aston Villa and England star faced fan and pundit criticism ahead of Euro 2020 due to his lack of major tournament or Champions League experience
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England defender Tyrone Mings has opened up on his battle with declining mental health at Euro 2020 which led him to see a psychologist.
Mings, 28, enjoyed a fine season with Aston Villa to earn his place in Gareth Southgate’s squad which would go on to reach the final.
The towering centre-half kept back-to-back clean sheets in the group-stage victory over Croatia and draw with Scotland as he stepped up in Harry Maguire’s absence.
But Mings’ mental health suffered as he faced fan and pundit criticism ahead of Euro 2020 due to his lack of major tournament or Champions League experience.
“I did have a tough time in the lead-up to the opening game against Croatia,” the Villa star told The Sun . “I think I’m a lot more hardened to outside influences now, but my mental health did plummet.
“And I have no shame in admitting that because there was so many unknowns about me going to that game.
“I was probably the only name on the teamsheet that people thought, ‘Not sure about him’. And that was something I had to overcome.
“When 90-95 per cent of your country are having doubts over you, it’s very difficult to stop this intruding on your own thoughts.
“So I did a lot of work on that with my psychologist. I was given a lot of coping mechanisms — whether it was breathing, meditation, or just learning how to bring yourself into the present moment. To stop letting your subconscious take over.
“It was hard. I didn’t really sleep very well before that first game.”
Ahead of England’s opening game against Croatia at Wembley, BBC Sport pundit Rio Ferdinand branded “the weakest part of our team”.
“I think it’s the weakest part of our team, and an area where most people are concerned,” said Ferdinand. “He has not played Champions League football, he has not played at this level.”
Ferdinand’s concerns were shared by many England fans, but Mings produced a rock-solid display at the back to marshal his side to a 1-0 victory.
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Mings added: “Rio DM’d me after the tournament. He’d said I was the weak link, and that Croatia should be targeting me.
“He messaged me saying something like, ‘Top-class response — matched your performances on the pitch.’ What a lovely guy.
“It’s just great that we are playing in a time now when you can speak about mental health, and how you are feeling.”