Tyrone Mings is ready to take his second chance with both hands, says his footballing father
JUST a few weeks ago, 19-year-old Tyrone Mings was combining work as a mortgage broker with life as a non-league footballer. EADT reporter Stuart Watson spoke to his father – Chelsea scout Adie Mings – about the teenager’s journey back into professional football with to Ipswich Town.
IT’S a tale that every non-league footballer will nod along to with knowing empathy.
“He was up at 6.30am, did a full day’s work and then jumped straight on the coach to make a 300-mile round trip to the likes of Cambridge and Barwell.
“By the time he got home it could be as late as 2am and it would nearly be time to be back in work again.”
There speaks the father of recent Ipswich Town signing Tyrone Mings.
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Proud Adie – a scout at Chelsea – was there to pick his son up off the floor after he was released by Southampton as a youngster, helping him to keep believing in his ability during stints at south west non-league sides Yate and Chippenham Town.
And now he’s confident that Tyrone’s taste of the real world – the teenager having worked as a mortgage broker – will stand him in good stead as he looks to break into the Blues’ first-team set-up.
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“He always had a lot of potential growing up in terms of technique and ability, but he was quite small and wiry and his development came a lot later the lads in his age group,” said Adie.
“Southampton had just gone into League One and they were finding that they couldn’t keep on as many of the academy boys as they wanted.
“He got a two-year football scholarship at Millfield School and that enabled him to carry on training daily. And when that finished he went into non-league and had to go out and find himself a job.
“I told him never to give up on his dreams, but I also made sure he remained realistic and level-headed. I told him to keep working hard, but also made him aware of how fickle football can be. You can’t anything for granted in football”
He continued: “Sometimes you have to go backwards to get forwards. He had a couple of trials at clubs, but nothing came of it.
“It’s a credit to his strength of character that he always kept on believing that one day his opportunity would come.
“He may not have felt it at the time, but I think he’s quite pleased he’s had a taste of what real life is all about.
“When we last spoke we said that maybe it happened this way for a reason. If he had turned professional at Southampton then maybe he would have just ended up falling by the wayside like so many do. Academy graduates can take it for granted and become complacent, whereas Ty is now going to fully appreciate and relish this second opportunity.”
KEEP looking in the non-league game.
That’s Adie Mings’ advice to Ipswich Town after his son Tyrone was snapped up by the Blues from Wiltshire side Chippenham Town last month.
The 19-year-old defender was released by Southampton four years ago because he was too small. Now – towering at 6ft 4in and still growing – he has featured on the bench for the Blues first-team and would have played against Aston Villa in the FA Cup recently had he not played in the competition for Yate Town at the start of the season, according to impressed boss Mick McCarthy.
Mings senior – Chelsea’s scout for the south west region – spent 25 years in the non-league game as a player, manager and director of football.
And not only is he confident that his son’s life as an amateur footballer cum mortgage broker has given him the important mental strength to succeed at Portman Road, but he also believes the Suffolk club will uncover more hidden gems if they keep looking at the lower levels.
“I’ve always been a firm believer that clubs could save themselves a lot of money if they looked to the non-league because there are some fantastic players that deserve to be given a chance,” said Adie.
“As far as I’m concerned it’s nothing ventured, nothing gained. Clubs just need to take a chance.
“I’m certain that lads like Ty, who have been released by pro clubs, come back hungrier for it.”
Town have had success when looking to the non-league game in the past. Current midfielder Andy Drury has made over 50 appearances since being recruited from Luton Town, while Simon Milton – signed from Bury Town in 1987 – has given the club more than 25 years service as a player and staff member.
And with new Financial Fair Play rules beginning to limit the amount of money clubs can spend on wages going forwards, the Blues are looking at long-term options.
New chief scout Dave Bowman has a proven track record of uncovering lower league gems for McCarthy, with Michael Kightly brought to former club Wolves from Grays Athletic and then sold to Stoke for a reported £2m.
After a flurry of activity at the start of the January transfer window, it has been a quiet couple of weeks at Ipswich Town. Keeper target Lee Camp is close to sealing a Norwich City switch, while Charlton have reportedly had a bid accepted for Colchester midfielder Anthony Wordsworth.
IPSWICH Town are conscious not to push teenager Tyrone Mings into the first-team too early.
The 19-year-old defender was snapped up from Wiltshire non-league side Chippenham Town last month.
Blues boss Mick McCarthy said it took him just five minutes of seeing the youngster in action on trial to decide that he wanted to offer him an 18-month deal.
He’s already been an unused substitute for the first team and McCarthy said he would have played against Aston Villa in the FA Cup recently had he not played in the preliminary rounds for Yate Town.
It’s been a big change for Mings, who just weeks ago was working as a trainee mortgage broker. Indeed, he admitted in an interview with the club’s programme that he had been used to training on a school field with no lights.
And for that reason, the Blues are going steady.
“He’s really enjoying training,” said Mings’ father Adie. “Andy Liddell (fitness coach) is monitoring him because they are aware he’s gone from training twice a week to a far more intensive programme.
“He’s 6ft 4in tall and has probably still got a bit of growing to do. They’re just treading carefully to make sure he doesn’t pick up any injuries.”
Asked if Tyrone was better at left-back or centre-back, he added: “That’s a good question. He’s comfortable on the ball and is very athletic. I guess it will depend on how he can develop to the speed and intensity of the professional game.
“He’s a good, level-headed kid who is determined to take this chance.”
Height: 6ft 4in (and still growing)
– Was with Southampton’s academy from the ages of eight to 15, playing alongside Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
– Had several unsuccessful trials elsewhere.
– Spent two years on a football scholarship at Millfield College.
– Joined Gloucestershire side Yate Town (Step Four of non-league), before transferring to hometown club Chippenham Town in Wiltshire (Step Three).
– Signed an 18-month deal with Ipswich last month after impressing on trial. Was an unused sub against Brighton.