Tyrone Mings says that England need to be more “streetwise” and look at other nations who “master the darks arts” when it comes to winning tournaments.
The centre-half drew attention last week after he escaped punishment for a blatant bodycheck on Austria’s Sasa Kalajdzic during the warm-up game for Euro 2021.
The challenge in the penalty area went unpunished with Mings admitting he had committed it because he was aware that there was no video assistant referee system in operation.
Asked whether he was fortunate to escape conceding a penalty and, probably, being sent off Mings said: “Not lucky, no, because I knew there wasn’t Var” before conceding that he may well have seen red for it during the Euros.
However he added: “But it wasn’t, wasn’t it? So we can go back through many different occasions in my career and you could say if there was Var in that game, I would have got sent off.
“As a defender, I have done that many times in my career. When a cross is about to come in, block the striker. That is not against the rules. But that one there was probably too aggressive… football is very soft these days, you cannot get away with much. And like you say, if there had have been VAR, absolutely I would have given away a penalty.”
However the 28-year-old claimed that, in the past, England may have lacked a little nous when it comes to navigating tournament football – something that was first raised by Wayne Rooney after the ignominious exit from the 2014 World Cup.
“But being streetwise is a huge part of the game,” Mings said. “You look at other nations and they are masters at the dark arts – staying on the floor for longer than needed, delaying restarts. Being streetwise is also sometimes that gets you over the edge because it winds up the opposition and breaks up their flow and their rhythm.”
There is added scrutiny over England’s defence in particular with injury to Harry Maguire – even if he returned to training on Thursday – casting doubt over who Gareth Southgate will pick and the formation he will use.
As Telegraph Sport revealed on Wednesday the manager is considering using Luke Shaw on the left of a back three – a role that Mings will hope he is also in contention for and he defended England’s defending in the two friendlies against Austria and Romania when they gave up chances but also did not concede in the 1-0 victories.
“Well the defence might not have been as secure as *you* would have liked, but we kept two clean sheets so we’re over the moon with that,” Mings said. “But of course we have players missing, and that brings its own challenges.”