LEE PHILLIPS made a good career out of getting the better of defenders but going up against a young Tyrone Mings in Chippenham Town training sessions showed the striker all he needed to know.
“He was a beast,” Phillips says. “Even back then. I’m not a small lad but trying to get past him in training – he’s strong, quick, good in the air – I found it hard to get the better of him, to be honest!
“Non-League can be a brutes’ game. I know a lot of players in Non-League and you’ve got to be strong and confident – that’s what Ty brought in abundance.
“I knew he would go on and do some good stuff. To get into the Euros and England’s team is just phenomenal and credit to the lad.”
A signing from Yate Town, nine years later from his stint in the Southern League with the Bluebirds and Mings is in England’s Euro 2020 squad on the back of a fine season in the Premier League with Aston Villa.
Dad Adie is, of course, a former Chippenham manager and it was under management team Nathan Rudge and Richard Fey that Mings laid the foundations for a rapid rise.
Ipswich Town signed him for £10,000 after boss Mick McCarthy took him off at half-time of a trial game in case he got injured. Moves to Bournemouth and Villa followed as the left-back turned centre-back rose up the ladder before making his Three Lions’ debut in August 2019.
Known for his work off the pitch – he spent Christmas Day in 2013 serving food to homeless people – Phillips, now assistant at St Blazey, believes Mings is fine inspiration.
And the former Plymouth Argyle, Exeter City, Weymouth and Bath City forward always remembers the first time the young starlet pitched up at Chipp.
“He came along to a training session and I spoke to the manager to say, ‘Who is this lad?’ He said, ‘Tyrone Mings’. When he said Mings I realised who his old man is. He came to watch a few games too but Ty fitted in brilliantly. He knew most of the lads anyway.
“All left-footed players seem to be naturally good on the ball – all the ones I’ve known, anyway – and it just shows with the way he’s escalated through the leagues and now onto the international scene.
“You’ve got the likes of Jamie Vardy and Chris Smalling who have come though Non-League and Ty has done the same. Don’t get me wrong, he has worked exceptionally hard to do it and made a lot of sacrifices. He’s doing really well and an inspiration to younger players coming through.”
NON-LEAGUERS IN THE EUROS
Tyrone Mings Yate, Chippenham Tn
Jordan Pickford Darlington*, Alfreton Tn*
Dominic Calvert-Lewin Stalybridge C*
Dean Henderson Stockport County*
Kieffer Moore Truro City, Dorchester Town, Forest Green Rovers, Torquay Utd*, England C
Joe Morrell Sutton Utd*, Margate*
Tom Lockyer Bristol Rvrs
Danny Ward Wrexham, Tamworth*
David Brooks FC Halifax Tn*
Che Adams Oadby Tn, Ilkeston
Jon McLaughlin Harrogate Tn
Daniel O’Shaughnessy Braintree Tn*
Daniel Bachmann Wrexham*