Tyrone Mings to make England debut as Gareth Southgate rings the changes for Bulgaria

Matt Law
The Telegraph
Aston Villa's centre-back will start alongside Harry Maguire in Sofia - Getty Images Europe
Aston Villa's centre-back will start alongside Harry Maguire in Sofia - Getty Images Europe

Tyrone Mings will make his England debut in Monday night’s game against Bulgaria in Sofia as part of Gareth Southgate's overhauling of the team that fell to a shock Euro 2020 qualifying defeat by the Czech Republic.

Aston Villa's Mings will replace Michael Keane alongside Harry Maguire in the centre of England's Southgate’s defence. There will also be further changes at the back with Ben Chilwell replacing the suspended Danny Rose, who has flown back to England, while Trent Alexander-Arnold could also come in.

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The decision to give Mings his debut comes as a surprise because Southgate had been expected to bring in Joe Gomez for the match, but the 22-year-old’s lack of playing time for Liverpool has counted against him.

Mings first joined Villa on loan from Bournemouth in January before becoming the club’s £21 million joint-record signing in the summer.

Southgate will stick with a four-man defence for the game against Bulgaria, who are bottom of Group A, despite refusing to rule out the possibility of looking at a back-three again before next summer’s European Championship.

Midfielder Harry Winks is in line to start his first England game for almost a year after Declan Rice missed training with a cold, while Southgate’s suggestion that he may turn to more experienced players hints at recalls for Ross Barkley in place of Mason Mount and Marcus Rashford in place of Jadon Sancho.

“There are players who we’re giving football to in key areas, like Declan Rice who’s still 20 years old,” said Southgate. “I’ve got to always remember that, that we’re putting a lot of onus on young players and sometimes it’s important for you to turn to your more experienced players in those moments and say: ‘OK, this is the time for a solid performance, get back on track.'

“Remember the objective is to qualify. We’ve been trying to qualify, develop the team, blood players - and the other night that didn’t quite work for us. But, it’s the first time it hasn’t.”

On his defence, Southgate said: “We have to change with Danny [Rose] missing anyway and these are the decisions we’ve got to think about because we haven't hit the level we need to. And so you have two choices, you either change formation or you change personnel.

“The best way to improve is to play in the same way and play better, and do it with better detail.”

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