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Published 24 June 2021 4 min read
Grassroots Football

The hard yards

Written by:

Tom Dean

Tyrone Mings is the perfect role model for youngsters trying to make it in football according to former grassroots coach


Tyrone Mings’ former coach at Yate Town believes the England defender should be ‘a shining example to kids’ following his meteoric rise to major tournament football. 
Rob Cousins was playing for Bath City in a charity match the first day he met a 17 year old Mings, who was brought along by his father Adie, for a ten-minute cameo appearance. 
Cousins, who made over 400 semi-professional appearances himself for Bath City, Yeovil Town and Forest Green, was coaching Yate Town at the time and asked Adie to bring his boy along to pre-season off the back of what he saw.
Mings had previously been released by Southampton and was looking for a way to get back into playing football seriously - so a season at Yate Town suited everyone. 
However it would be just the one season, as Mings later joined his local club Chippenham, before being scouted for Ipswich Town and beginning his journey up the professional ladder to become one of the Premier League’s most established defenders with Aston Villa today. 
“He was on the slight side but he had this long stride, he was strong in the tackle, a sweet left foot, touch wasn’t bad either but it was the way he covered the ground that was the most impressive thing about him,” Cousins recalls of the first time he saw Mings play back in 2011. 
“I thought he could play higher up, of course, but I couldn’t quite tell how high at that age. 
“The great thing about Tyrone’s story is that there are so many players like him, including myself, that want to play professional football but suffer rejection and find it hard to get back into the game. 
“Tyrone should be a shining example to kids to forget about the rejection and use it as a motivation to go and fulfil your dreams. Look how far he’s come in ten years, it’s amazing.”
Former Yate Town coach Rob Cousins, who scouted Mings during a charity game
Former Yate Town coach Rob Cousins, who scouted Mings during a charity game
Rejection at youth level wasn’t the only major setback Mings suffered in his development either. 

His performances in the Championship with Ipswich Town earned him a big move to the Premier League with AFC Bournemouth but a serious knee injury suffered on his debut kept him out for almost a year. 

During that time the ‘slight’ defender that Cousins had previously been impressed by, morphed into a strong and sturdy defender and moved from his previous left-back position into the centre-back we see today. 

Assured Premier League performances led to an England call-up in 2019 and consistency earned him a spot in Gareth Southgate’s final 26-man squad for EURO 2020. 

It’s been quite the journey, one that has led to Mings featuring in all three of England’s group games at the tournament but ultimately on that wouldn’t have been possible without the grassroots network. 

“I was texting his dad before the game and at half time to say he’s doing well and then after the game in his press conference he spoke very well,” Cousins said. 

“He certainly wasn’t shy when he was with us. Not arrogant at all but he had confidence in himself. He was a mature 17 year old and comfortable in the side - you could see he could progress. 

“All I did was give him the opportunity to play football and put himself back in the shop window and he did everything else.”
24 Jun 2021

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