England defender Tyrone Mings revealed that his mental health “plummeted” during Euro 2020 when he was labeled “the weakest link in the team”.
The 28-year-old from Aston Villa was drafted into England XI in the absence of Harry Maguire for the team’s first two Euro 2020 matches against Croatia and Scotland.
Mings revealed that she spoke to a psychologist to cope with the pressure in the buildup as her mental health plummeted due to public doubts about her abilities.
“I had a tough time ahead of the opening match against Croatia,” Mings told The Sun. “I think I’m a lot more hardened to outside influences now, but my sanity has plummeted.
“And I’m not ashamed to admit it because there were so many unknowns about me going to that game.
“I was probably the only name on the team sheet that people thought, ‘I’m not sure about him.’ And it was something I had to overcome.
“When 90-95% of your country doubts you, it is very difficult to stop this intrusion into your thoughts.
“So I worked a lot on this with my psychologist. I was given a lot of coping mechanisms, whether it was breathing, meditating, or just learning to bring you into the present moment. To stop letting your subconscious take over.
“It was difficult. I didn’t sleep very well before that first game.”
England kept a clean sheet in both games, before first choice Maguire returned to England’s starting lineup following injury at Mings’ expense.
Mings, whose comments come in the wake of US Olympian Simone Biles’ retirement from Tokyo 2020 citing mental health, said comments made by former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand to the BBC that she was the weaker side of the team hit him.
“Rio sent me to DM after the tournament. He said I was the weak link and that Croatia should have targeted me, “Mings said.
“He sent me a message saying something like, ‘Top notch response – matched to your performance on the pitch.’ What a beautiful guy.
“It’s just great that we’re playing at a time where you can talk about mental health and how you feel.
“We have seen with Simone Biles that you can talk about how you feel and hopefully you feel supported by many people.”