Tyrone Mings has revealed he needed to consult with a psychologist as his mental health "plummeted" before England's Euro 2020 opener against Croatia.
The Aston Villa defender filled in for the injured Harry Maguire in England's opening two games against Croatia and Scotland. And the 28-year-old has now revealed that it was tough with large part of the fanbase having doubts over his capabilities going into the Croatia game.
In an interview with the Sun, as reported by the Daily Mail, Mings said: "I did have a tough time in the lead-up to the opening game against Croatia. I think I’m a lot more hardened to outside influences now, but my mental health did plummet.
"And I have no shame in admitting that because there was so many unknowns about me going to that game. I was probably the only name on the teamsheet that people thought, ‘Not sure about him’. And that was something I had to overcome. When 90-95 per cent of your country are having doubts over you, it’s very difficult to stop this intruding on your own thoughts.
"So I did a lot of work on that with my psychologist. I was given a lot of coping mechanisms — whether it was breathing, meditation, or just learning how to bring yourself into the present moment. To stop letting your subconscious take over. It was hard. I didn’t really sleep very well before that first game."
Mings also hit out at comments made by BBC pundit Rio Ferdinand, who said regarding the Villa man ahead of the Croatia game: "I think it's the weakest part of our team, and an area where most people are concerned. He has not played Champions League football, he has not played at this level." Mings revealed Ferdinand later contacted him in private to praise him for his performance.
Prior to his inclusion in Gareth Southgate's squad, Mings had made just 10 appearances for the senior side, but was impressive during the European Championship, helping England keep clean sheets in the victory over Croatia and the goalless draw against Scotland.