Steven Gerrard has been urged to hand Tyrone Mings an immediate recall by Aston Villa legend Paul McGrath, who has weighed into the debate over the manager’s treatment of the central defender.
But Mings is sweating on a groin injury to see whether or not he will be available for Villa’s first home game of the season against Everton on Saturday lunchtime.
Mings was stripped of the captaincy and dropped for Villa’s opening-day defeat to Bournemouth after which Gerrard said: “When Tyrone is back at his best and looks me in the eye and shows that he's ready to play, he'll get opportunities."
That has caused a huge debate with another former Villa defender Micah Richards accusing Gerrard of “throwing him (Mings) under the bus a little bit” on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Monday Night Club.
Now McGrath, considered one of the best defenders in Villa’s history, has had his say on the situation in a message posted on Twitter on Tuesday morning.
McGrath, whose iconic No 5 Villa shirt is worn by Mings, wrote a message that said: “Tyrone Mings is good enough for Aston Villa, in my opinion he ticks all the right boxes, so how do you lose the armband and your place in seconds. You don’t, so who said what to who, no-one cares, get him in the team. Respect. UTV.”
The message has been seized upon by a host of Villa fans who still worship McGrath and believe Mings should be recalled for Saturday’s visit of Everton.
Having been passed fit for the Bournemouth game for which he was benched, however, a scan on Monday revealed that Mings is still carrying a slight groin injury that is likely to prevent him from training for the first half of this week.
That could delay Gerrard deciding on his team for Saturday and leave Mings needing to prove his fitness at the back end of the week to stand a chance of earning an immediate recall.
Describing his reaction to Gerrard’s handling of the situation around Mings, who has been replaced by John McGinn as Villa captain, Richards said: “I’m flabbergasted to be honest because Mings is well-loved by the dressing room by all accounts and the Villa fans seem to love him as well.
“He tweeted when he lost the captaincy and he seemed to take it well. It’s not like Gerrard, he sort of threw him under the bus a little bit there.
“Normally you agree with everything Gerrard says, he’s straight to the point, direct and he’s a manager that will deal with anything internal in the dressing room.
“But he sort of put the feelers out there that there is a little bit more to be honest. Nobody would take losing the captaincy well, that’s just a natural reaction. But I just feel, for both Mings and Gerrard, they could have kept that internal.
“Maybe Gerrard was frustrated because they just lost the game and he was asked the question so gave an honest answer, but normally he keeps that between the group. It’s very interesting.”