Aston Villa centre-back says off-field unrest might have diverted some of the attention from the Three Lions’ run to the Euro 2020 final
Tyrone Mings felt negativity around the Euro 2020 final took the shine off England’s achievements during an unforgettable summer that has the players hungry for more at next year’s World Cup.
Having reached the World Cup semi-finals in 2018 and finished third at the following year’s inaugural Nations League finals, Gareth Southgate led the Three Lions on a memorable run to July’s Wembley showpiece.
England’s second major tournament final ended in penalty heartache against Italy in the European Championship final, which is subject to an ongoing Uefa investigation about fan disorder around the match.
Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford were racially abused online after their penalty misses in the shootout as a remarkable summer came a sickening climax.
“I think there was never really any time to take stock was there after the tournament,” England defender Mings told the PA news agency.
“Because everybody just kind of dispersed and there was a lot of negativity around the final with the security breaches, social media abuse and stuff like that.
“It kind of took away from the actual achievements that we managed, the strides we managed to take in not only what we did on the pitch but I think really bringing the country together. Football has an amazing power and a unique power to do that.
"Então, there was that but in terms of on the pitch, Quero dizer, in our first meet-up post-Euros we had kind of a long meeting about the Euros and taking stock of what we’d done, how far we’d come.
“Speaking about everything we spoke about at the start of the tournament, which was now is kind of our time to shine.
“Every other generation of players that have come before us have had their opportunity to create history and to leave their legacy in the England shirt and leave it in a better place.
“We managed to do that and we were able to do that and we take great pride in that, so I think internally we appreciate and acknowledge what we did.
“But, sim, pode ser, such as life, things move on so quickly don’t they and everybody, quite rightly so, as soon as the Euros finished thought: ‘Okay, we didn’t win it, but let’s look ahead to the World Cup,’ which is also a great way to look at.
“People are now excited about when England next play and when England next compete in a tournament rather than maybe a little bit daunted by it.”
Mings made three appearances in the Three Lions’ run to the final, with Southgate consistently lauding a player who hopes to fight his way into the squad for next year’s World Cup.
But the 28-year-old is not taking his place in the squad for granted, nor England’s qualification as they prepare to resume Group I with matches against Andorra and Hungary next month.
The latter head to Wembley just a month on from Raheem Sterling and substitute Jude Bellingham being subjected to sickening monkey chants in Budapest.
Fifa has ordered Hungary to play two home matches behind closed doors, one suspended for two years, and handed out a 200,000 Swiss francs (over £158,000) fine for the racist behaviour of fans.
Mings was on the bench in Hungary, who had been hit with a similar charge by Uefa, and made his debut against Bulgaria in October 2019, when the match was twice halted due to racist abuse.
“The atmosphere kind of up until we scored was one of kind of celebration, it was almost carnival like in there,” said the Villa Aston capitão, who hopes to help educate younger generations.
“But the racism and the kind of abuse that we suffered as players was, novamente, probably a small minority of people’s views and a very tiny representation of their fans.
“I’m conscious to not come down too hard on what people do and what people say whilst we’re abroad because I don’t think we’ve quite got our own house in order as yet in terms of sanctions, in terms of tracing and punishing correctly people that subject players to abuse – maybe not just players but people in the community in general.
“We still have a long way to go but when we’re talking about punishments for racism, it seems to, like you said, be a never-ending conversation about how lightly teams or countries get away with it.
"Então, ouço, we’re here again talking about it but at the same time we’ve almost got to highlight how miniscule the punishment seem when you’re talking about such a big issue.
“But, novamente, it’s very difficult to punish the whole country or the whole FA.
“I almost feel sorry for organisations at this point because it probably is such a tiny representation of their organisation, of their country and you don’t want to come away from Bulgaria or Hungary thinking that they’re such bad countries with such bad people in because it happens all around the world.”
Tyrone Mings has joined Adam Peaty, Nicola Adams, and Heather Watson to form Alpro’s “Team PB” as they look to get the nation trying more plant-based protein and sports. Visit: http://www.alpro.com/uk