Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings is set to make his England debut on Monday night when the Three Lions face Bulgaria in a Euro 2020 qualifier, with Michael Keane, Kieran Trippier and Danny Rose all expected to drop out following Friday’s defeat to Czech Republic.
England lost a qualifying game for the first time in 10 years in Prague and saw an opportunity to secure early qualification to Euro 2020 go with it. The chance to seal their place at the final tournament with games to spare is still there on Monday, but only if they can bounce back to win against Bulgaria in Sofia and Kosovo fail to beat Montenegro at home.
Mings, who was called up for the first time for the last international break but failed to get on the pitch, has made a strong start to the season with Aston Villa and is set to be rewarded as he prepares to make his debut in place of the underperforming Keane.
A report from Sky Sports describes the 26-year-old defender as ‘likely’ to play.
Meanwhile, The Sun specifically claim it is Keane he will replace to start alongside Harry Maguire, with Gareth Southgate making changes in both full-backs roles. That would mean Trippier and Rose, the latter of whom didn’t play well against Czech Republic, dropping out and Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold and Leicester’s Ben Chilwell coming into the side instead.
It suggests that Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori may have to wait for his England debut after being called into the senior squad for the first time, unless he is needed from the bench.
The build up to England’s trip to Bulgaria has sadly been partly overshadowed by concerns of potential racism. The stadium in Sofia is to be partially closed as a punishment for Bulgaria after racist behaviour from fans during a pair of qualifiers in June, while one Bulgarian was ejected from Wembley in the reverse fixture last month for aiming racist abuse at Raheem Sterling.
England players have already faced racism during this qualifying campaign when they played against Montenegro, and forward Tammy Abraham recently confirmed the players are prepared to walk off if they experience it in Sofia after discussing the issue as a squad.
The Bulgarian association later angrily responded to comments on the subject, insisting that people in Bulgaria were unjustly being portrayed as racists and troublemakers.
One can only hope the game is played without any such problems.