Opinion: Surely it's time O'Connell got England call-up after Mings is criticised again - Sheffield United News
Opinion: Surely it's time O'Connell got England call-up after Mings is criticised again
Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images

Opinion: Surely it's time O'Connell got England call-up after Mings is criticised again

Jack O’Connell surely deserves to get an England call-up ahead of Tyrone Mings?

Mings put in another poor performance on Thursday night as Aston Villa’s losing run continued with a 3-0 defeat to Manchester United.

Villa have now taken just two points from their last 10 Premier League matches and have the worst defensive record in the division with 65 goals conceded.

Youngster Mason Greenwood scored a spectacular second for Man United. But their former midfielder-turned-pundit, Roy Keane, thinks Mings was at fault.

“I feel sorry for Villa. Just on half-time, study Mings here, he loses it – an experienced international player,” said Keane, as quoted by the Daily Mail.


“When you’ve got your central defenders not brave enough to go and close the ball. He’s got to go two yards. He’s made the first mistake and that’s why teams get relegated, when your experienced players don’t do the basics.

“No sympathy for Aston Villa. Before the game I thought bit of energy, but when defenders defend like that you deserve everything you get.”

It’s time England turned to O’Connell

(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

This isn’t a one-off for Mings, who has struggled for form in a Villa side who look destined to be relegated back to the Championship this season.

Yet the 26-year-old started two of England’s last three Euro 2020 qualifiers.

We have written before about why O’Connell should be selected for his country ahead of Mings. Manager Gareth Southgate has apparently been monitoring the defender ahead of a call-up.

Like Mings, O’Connell is also a left-sided centre-back and could easily serve as backup to Harry Maguire – who is generally preferred there – or partner the Red Devils man.

The issue for the 26-year-old, it seems, is that he plays in a back three for the Blades. Southgate prefers a flat four and isn’t convinced O’Connell fits into that. It’s the same reason Wolverhampton Wanderers captain Conor Coady hasn’t been called up either.

Yet it seems very unfair if O’Connell isn’t even given the chance to prove himself to Southgate. Especially as he has played a key role in a Blades side who have the third best defensive record in the top flight this term.

Southgate told the Telegraph in 2017 – as quoted by the Metro – that players would be selected on form, not reputation. Picking Mings ahead of O’Connell for his next squad would be a complete contradiction of that.

Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know