Gerrard ‘never doubted’ Mings and hails ‘selfless’ Watkins as returning pair star

Steven Gerrard has told talkSPORT he ‘never doubted’ Tyrone Mings who returned after losing the Aston Villa captaincy to help beat Everton 2-1.

England international Mings was stripped of the club captaincy in the lead up to the season, being replaced by John McGinn, and then dropped to the bench for their Premier League opener.

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Mings returned and put in a solid display

Gerrard was delighted with both Mings and Watkins

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Gerrard was delighted with both Mings and Watkins

The 29-year-old lost out to £26million summer signing Diego Carlos for Villa’s opening defeat to Bournemouth, but started against Everton, making a crucial late intervention to stop the score turning 2-2.

However, Gerrard explained Mings only started the opener on the bench due to a slight injury, with his talent never in doubt.

“The outside have made a big thing about this,” the Villa boss said. “I understand because when you change a captain I expect that noise.

“But no one’s ever doubted or said that Tyrone Mings is out the team or that he’s been dropped.

“He was injured last week, we put him on the bench because we could afford to put him on the bench and it was a niggling injury, and if needed in an emergency he might have been ready.

“In terms of the noise that’s being made from the outside, I can’t control that. He came in today and he performed extremely well. There were a few moments as a defensive unit we can learn from but, in the main, we’ve defended ever so well.

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Mings stopped Villa dropping two points with a last gasp intervention

btsport

Mings stopped Villa dropping two points with a last gasp intervention


“I inherited Tyrone as the captain and it was too soon to make those decisions, I needed to analyse the group.

“Tyrone has got fantastic attributes as a centre-back, he’s an international player, he’s important to us, but I wanted to put my stamp on it.

“I’m entitled to make my own decisions, I’ll live and die by them decisions.

“There was a lot of noise made around it, understandably, but it certainly never came from me because no one’s ever doubted Tyrone as a player, no one’s ever doubted that.”

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Liverpool legend Gerrard overcame former rivals Everton thanks to goals from Danny Ings and Emiliano Buendia, both of which were set up by forward Watkins.

Watkins’ assist to Buendia was pure class

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Watkins’ assist to Buendia was pure class

Much like Mings, Watkins was also put on the bench for the league opener, but Gerrard was full of praise for his performance back at Villa Park.

“I thought his performance was selfless today,” he said.

“His running in behind, he was unlucky not to score, he got a fantastic assist.

“Ollie Watkins optimised everything we did today.”

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