Tyrone Mings admits his time at Aston Villa has refreshed his career as the defender looks to round off a “perfect” loan spell with promotion.
The 26-year-old has become a firm favourite at Villa Park since his arrival from Bournemouth at the end of the January transfer window, with his performances playing a key role in helping the club to reach the Championship play-off final.
But Mings is just happy to be playing regularly again. He has previously described his move to Bournemouth – for a then-club record fee of £8million from Ipswich in 2015 – as “jinxed”.
A knee ligament injury on his Cherries debut kept him out for more than a year while he was ruled out for eight months with a back problem last season.
“I was in a position where I needed to play games. I hadn’t played football for a long time and my hope and expectations were just to come here and play football with a smile on my face,” said Mings.
“Being unable to play for so long isn’t where you want to be as a footballer. If you are not playing for long periods of time, your career is only going to go one way.
“I needed to come out of Bournemouth, if I wasn’t going to get an opportunity there, and show people what I could do. I don’t think it has revived my career, it has probably just refreshed it.
“It’d be perfect if we got promoted, but so far it’s been everything that a player could want from a loan spell.”
Being mentored by John Terry has been a big reason behind Mings relishing his stint at Villa Park and he feels he has learned a lot working with the former Chelsea captain and England international.
“It played a big part in me choosing to come here, knowing there were people like that on the coaching staff,” said Mings.
“John Terry is a fantastic centre-back – a centre-back that a lot of people would put in their all-time Premier League XI. When I knew there was a chance that I could come here and learn from someone like that, it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.
“We sit down after my games and go through clips and work on the training pith together and he’s been a big help in helping me to improve my positioning and decision-making at centre-back.
“When we sit down after games, that period then is probably where I learn the most. Any little tips or hints or advice about what he would’ve done or what his past managers have told him is invaluable.
“We’ve sat down many times and his overriding advice to me is go through the game without being seen. He tells me that a lot. Those little bits of information are great.”
Villa are set to appear in the play-off final for the second year running, having lost at Wembley to Fulham 12 months ago.
Many of the squad who missed out on promotion back to the Premier League still remain at the club but Mings insists there are no scars heading into Monday’s showdown against Derby.
“There’s been no talk of last year’s final,” he said. “You wouldn’t know that many of this team were involved in a play-off final loss last year, such is the togetherness and belief and confidence.”