A message from Tyrone Mings sent the Aston Villa fan base into a meltdown this afternoon, with fears surrounding the defender’s injury. A follow-up update fixed these fears, with the defender keen to keep working his way back.
Words: Andy Bates | @k2_villa
You don’t hear from someone for weeks, then suddenly they appear and take you on a wild three hour rollercoaster of emotions. It’s not reuniting with an ex, Friday’s episode of Eastenders, or even the return of The Beatles. It’s Aston Villa superhero Tyrone Mings finally sharing an update on his injury progress, which we can all agree is far more appealing than the other options.
Since we all witnessed the painful scenes of our former captain, prostrate on the St James’s Park turf, in floods of tears, having sustained a potential career ender, Tyrone Mings has gone ‘off grid’. His Instagram profile was darkened, as he started yet another long, arduous road back from a long term injury.
Barring one sighting, as Villa’s home European Conference League match against Zrinski Mostar, where he was sat in the stands with fellow long term injury victim Emi Buendia and the Prince of Wales as the team got their group campaign off and running with a 1-0 win, Mings has kept the lowest of low profiles.
Mings is of course no stranger to this feeling having suffered two major injuries whilst at Bournemouth, one of which was also an anterior cruciate ligament tear. It was well documented how this affected Mings’ mental health as he struggled psychologically with the recovery period. So, seeing the centre back fade himself out in this way, not only raised concerns for his physical well being, but also as to how he would cope emotionally, particularly as a player in his early 30s, with more football behind him than ahead (in theory at least).
However, if there’s one thing we should have learned about our big number 5, is that you never bet against him and that undoubtedly, he would be doing his damnedest to get back on the Villa Park pitch in double quick order.
Then, out of nowhere on Instagram, Mings posts a story. A greyscale photo of him looking decidedly glum, with a message of thanks for fan’s support and a promise for an imminent update. This naturally sent social media into wild speculation about impending doom and premature retirements, as the Villa faithful lamented their hero’s woes and probably started to ‘bet against him’, despite all our instincts telling us not to.
And, of course those instinct should have been listened to. The post that followed showed a minute long video, chronicling some footage of Mings’ surgery, treatment and ongoing physio, at Bodymoor health and a rehabilitation facility in Philadelphia, with the message “cant get rid of me that easy”.
What a relief! It would have been awfully cruel had this been the end of the road for Tyrone’s career. We can guess that there was a playful intent to the posts and his way of showing that not only is he bang on track to get back to fitness, but he is also in good spirits and not suffering in the way we might have feared, or at least for the most part.
Tyrone Mings in so many ways embodies the rebirth and rise of Aston Villa, since Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens saved the club in 2018, and set us on the road to promotion, Premier League stability and back into European competition. Mings has been front and centre in that process, alongside John McGinn, led chiefly by Dean Smith and of course, Unai Emery.
Those seasons have also mirrored Mings’ own revitalisation as he put his injuries behind him and went from being a fifth choice option at Bournemouth, to playing for England in the European Championships and becoming one of the best centre backs in the Premier League. He has of course had difficult moments and often been criticised by fans, for lapses and errors, whilst also suffering the indignity of being dropped and stripped of the captaincy by parody manager Steven Gerrard.
However, Mings doesn’t quit, he gets to work and proves people wrong, which he did in awesome style last season, as Emery trusted him with organising one of the most stingy defences in the league, the bedrock of the European qualification.
Alongside the aforementioned relief is a palpable sense of joy, that a player, who is more than just a player to so many of us, is ok and on his way to donning that number 5 shirt again. It will almost certainly be a long road still, but to see the progress and have the confirmation of the his clear determination to return, is more than enough for now.
Tyrone Mings’ Aston Villa story has more chapters still to write and true legend status awaits.