Aston Villa's Tyrone Mings has defended England team-mate Harry Maguire, insisting he is not the 'weak link' of the team's defence.
Maguire has endured an undoubtedly challenging season at club level with Manchester United and England boss Gareth Southgate was forced to defend his decision to call the 29-year-old up for this month's internationals against Switzerland and Ivory Coast.
Speaking to The Times, Mings admitted he absolutely agrees that Maguire deserves his spot in the team and urged his critics to take a closer look at his game.
“If I were in Harry’s shoes and I’d been such a good servant to the national team in terms of the stuff that happened in Russia, and the amount of games that he’s played and the player he is, and I missed a couple of games through injury but then I was fit, I’d like to think there would be a level of loyalty or credit in the bank still that would allow me to at least come back,” Mings said.
“I fully understand the decision the manager made in the summer and I actually can agree with it.”
Mings continued: “He comes under a lot of scrutiny, a lot of it misplaced at times because people are going on like the team is actually fully functioning and Harry is the weak link, which I don’t think is fair whatsoever.
"As a centre-back your mistakes are always highlighted — that’s just the territory, the position you play in, so that is what we accept — but I don’t think it has affected Harry. He is a great guy, a great character, a great leader and his service to the national team has been unbelievable really.
“Whatever is happening at club level, the manager and the players here make it really easy to leave it at the door and come into a whole new environment, with different faces, voices and stimulus. That’s probably why you see players sometimes playing differently for the national team than they do at club level, because it is a whole different world really. He’s doing well.”
Mings is expected to partner Maguire at the back for Tuesday's friendly against the Ivory Coast, with Southgate set to make wholesale changes to the team that saw off Switzerland.