Tyrone Mings' Journey From Homeless Shelter To England Debutant Is Inspirational
Don't let the abhorrent racist chanting from Bulgaria fans distract you from the fact Tyrone Mings had a stellar England debut in what was a really coming of age moment for the 26-year old last night.
In recent times we've seen Jamie Vardy carry out a real-life Yorkshire take on the Goal films but Mings' story is an even closer definition of rags to riches in English football.
When he was in primary school, Mings and his family were living in a homeless shelter as times got tough. He came through that and ended up joining Southampton as a kid but suffered rejection when he was released by Saints in 2009 for apparently being 'too small'.
As a result, Mings ended up dropping down to Non-League and playing for Yate Town and Chippenham Town, though he later revealed he seriously considered packing football in all together.
While playing in the lower echelons of English football and earning just £45-a-week, Mings worked as a trainer mortgage advisor and pulled pints at a local pub in Bath for extra income.
He got his big break when Ipswich snapped him up for a fee of £10,000 in 2013 and he spent three years at Portman Road before sealing an £8 million move to Bournemouth and realising his dream of becoming a Premier League player.
And after a solid run of form for Aston Villa, who he joined permanently for £26.5 million this summer having helped the club return to the promised land when on loan last term, he was called up by Gareth Southgate's England squad last month.
"When I was playing football part-time and working as a mortgage adviser I had different goals, playing for England seemed like a different world away," he reflected in a press conference last month, as per The Mirror.
"I just needed to get back into the professional game at that point.
"I can't say that while I was sat at my desk cold calling or trying to advise people on their mortgages that playing for England was an achievable goal.
"But I've been able to work with some great coaches and having been able to play for some great clubs, everything has culminated to get me to this point.
"At different times I have had to reassess my goals, with injuries and so forth, but that makes being sat here even sweeter."
Last night, Mings' meteoric rise continued as he produced a fine performance and kept a clean sheet at the heart of the backline alongside Harry Maguire.
What's more, he had the courage to make the assistant referee aware of vile racist abuse he was being subjected to by a large group of the home fans in the first half.
An absolute inspiration in every way.