Tyrone Mings has revealed he saw a psychiatrist during Euro 2020 as he struggled with mental health problems during England’s campaign.
The Aston Villa and Three Lions centre-back says he was left feeling that 95 per cent of the country were doubting him, but has been told on talkSPORT to be ‘proud’ of his performances and the way he conducted himself throughout the tournament.
Mings started in Gareth Southgate’s side for their first two games at the Euros against Croatia and Scotland, but was then replaced by Harry Magure after the Manchester United man recovered from an ankle injury.
He then was restricted to the bench for the remainder of the tournament, with Maguire playing every minute of England’s run to the final following his return from injury.
The decision was no fault of Mings, who put in two solid displays in two big games to open England’s summer campaign.
But the 28-year-old admitted his mental health ‘plummeted’ at the competition, especially in the build-up to the Three Lions’ opener.
Speaking in an interview with The Sun, Mings said: “I did have a tough time in the lead-up to the opening game against Croatia.
“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. It was hard. I didn’t really sleep very well before that first game.”
Mings praised Simone Biles, the American gymnastics star who has made headlines at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games by pulling out of several events to protect her mental health.
England all-rounder Ben Stokes is also taking an indefinite break from cricket to safeguard his wellbeing.
Mings said: “It’s just great that we are playing in a time now when you can speak about mental health, and how you are feeling.
“We have seen with Simone Biles you can speak on how you are feeling and hopefully feel supported by many people.”
Rio Ferdinand was one of the leading voices in questioning Mings during his role as a pundit for the tournament, but Mings said he received messages of support from the Man United legend following the Euros campaign
Ferdinand contacted the Villa star to praise both his performances and his response to home secretary Priti Patel’s dismissal of England taking the knee as ‘gesture politics’.
When Patel tweeted her ‘disgust’ at online abuse of Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka after their penalty shoot-out misses in the final, Mings wrote: “You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as ‘Gesture Politics’ & then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we’re campaigning against, happens.”
Mings added in his interview: “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.”
talkSPORT host and pundit Tony Cascarino says Ferdinand was perhaps a bit too personal in his criticism of Mings.
But he believes that criticism can drive players to perform, and that Mings should be ‘proud’ of his performances and conduct at the Euros as he played a supporting role behind the scenes.
“Being a pundit is a massive responsibility and you have to be careful, there is a line you can cross,” Cascarino said on the talkSPORT Breakfast.
“I think the worst thing you can do is be personal with your criticism.
“You can say Rio got a little bit personal, but he did the right thing in messaging Tyrone Mings to explain, and he was fine.
“If Mings felt 95 per cent of the county was behind him, he should be very proud of his performances against Croatia and Scotland.”