Tyrone Mings opens up about mental health struggles at Euro 2020

England and Aston Villa defender reveals he had crisis of self-confidence before opening game

The England footballer Tyrone Mings has revealed how he struggled with mental health problems at Euro 2020, with a crisis of self-confidence leaving him feeling like 95% of the country had doubts about him.

Mings, a defender for England and Aston Villa, said even after working hard with a psychologist he found it difficult to sleep before matches. He had stood in for Harry Maguire, who was recovering from an ankle injury, in England’s first two games against Croatia and Scotland.

In an interview published in the Sun on Monday, Mings was quoted as saying: “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% 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. It was hard. I didn’t really sleep very well before that first game.”

Mings is the latest sporting star to open up about how high-level competition can take a toll on competitors’ mental health. The US gymnastics star Simone Biles made headlines at the Olympics by pulling out of several events due to a mental health issue, while the England all-rounder Ben Stokes is taking an indefinite break from cricket to safeguard his wellbeing.

At Wimbledon last month, the British teenager Emma Raducanu retired after reaching the last 16, saying “the whole experience has caught up with me”.


Damien Gayle and agency

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