Aston Villa: Gerrard ‘focused’ on transforming £20m star at Villa Park

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard is ‘mainly focused’ on transforming the form of struggling defender Tyrone Mings, according to journalist Dean Jones.

The 29-year-old has been stripped of the captaincy at Villa Park after failing to convince Gerrard of his credentials since he replaced Dean Smith back in November and has been dropped from the starting XI.

What is the latest news involving Mings?

Mings was one of Villa’s first signings when they won promotion back to the Premier League in 2019, joining from Bournemouth in a £20 million deal following a successful loan spell.

However, his popularity in the west Midlands plummeted last season after struggling for form, and Gerrard has decided to hand the armband over to midfielder John McGinn.

Things went from bad to worse for Mings at the weekend, though, when summer signing Diego Carlos partnered Ezri Konsa at the heart of defence.

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Asked by BBC WM if his decision to bench the England international was any consequence of the player’s reaction to being replaced as skipper, Gerrard admitted it had a ‘little bit’ to do with that.

“It’s a little bit of that. He’s also missed some training time with an injury and there’s a niggle in the background as well,” revealed the 42-year-old tactician. “When Tyrone is back at his best and looks me in the eye and shows that he’s ready to play, he’ll get opportunities.”

What has Jones said about Mings?

Jones told GiveMeSport: “I know that Gerrard is mainly focused on turning Mings back into a defender that is worthy of even getting into his team, let alone being captain.

“So, by taking the armband off him and being like right, ‘now just knuckle down, don’t worry about this, just prove to me that you can play in the team’, it might be a weight off his shoulders, to be honest.

“Maybe he’s been weighed down by this, I don’t know, but the players seem to be okay with it.”

Does Mings deserve to be dropped?

Last season, Villa finished in a disappointing 14th position in the Premier League table after leaking 54 goals in their 38 top-flight fixtures, just one more than relegated Burnley.

Mings and Konsa were often the preferred partnership at centre-back, and their underlying numbers indicate there was little to separate the pair’s performances.

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As per WhoScored, Mings won 2.3 aerial duels, while making 0.6 tackles, 1.3 interceptions, 4.2 clearances and 0.8 blocks per league game throughout 2021/22.

Konsa racked up tallies of two, 0.9, 0.5, 2.8 and 0.8, respectively, suggesting that Mings may feel slightly harshly treated by Gerrard’s decision to drop him to the bench at the start of the current campaign.  

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