‘He had a go at me’ Aston Villa fans will love this untold Tyrone Mings story
The Sky Sports pundit recalls a bright-eyed Mings turning up for a trial game with Ipswich Town back in 2012.
The meaningless match “meant everything” to Mings, a then-non league defender playing for Chippenham Town.
“I remember playing a trial game with him,” explained Higginbotham, who spent five months at Portman Road.
“He played centre-back alongside me and he was a kid with unbelievable confidence.
“The game meant everything. I can’t even remember who we were playing!
“He was the only player I remember playing that day and clearly stood out from the rest.
“I think he was 19 or 20 at the time and came straight in from non league.
“He was loud and I think he had a go at me during the game. I just thought this lad has got some potential.
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“I left for Sheffield United after and I know he developed really well under Mick McCarthy, gaffer at the time.”
Higginbotham says the much talked about £20m transfer fee for Mings “is the going rate” for a decent defender.
The Manchester United academy graduate also labelled Mings “a throwback defender” and praised his ability to organise players around him.
Higginbotham added: “He took going into a massive club like Aston Villa into his stride with relative ease.
“I know a shirt like that can weigh heavily on players but Mings was cool, calm and incredibly vocal.
“You see less and less of vocal centre-backs nowadays and in that sense Mings is a bit of a throwback defender.
“He reads the game very well which was evident all those years ago when I played next to him at Ipswich.
“But he’s a leader, as Villa fans will tell you.
“The best defenders are all leaders, you look at JT who’s assistant at Villa now and your Kompanys and Van Dijks.
“I’m not for a second saying Mings is on that level but he’s a fantastic organiser who is also good on the ball.
“As for the fee, £89m was a record not so long ago for Paul Pogba now it’s £120m, it’s just going up and up.
“Finances go up all the time. A player worth £15m a few years ago is probably worth double that amount today.
“People were up in arms about Roy Keane going for £3m and Cantona for £1m. You could stick a few zeros on the end of them if they were around today!
“Mings, though, for me, will be a great signing for Villa.
“I wouldn’t get bogged down with all the finances behind it. He’s a fantastic player, a natural leader who’ll be excellent next season.”