Aston Villa manager Dean Smith

Alex Bruce has heaped praise on Tyrone Mings after the Aston Villa defender missed the weekend’s defeat to Tottenham. 

The former Leeds United defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondant Dylan Childs, has suggested last season’s experience in the Championship has transformed the 26-year-old.

Mings was absent for Villa’s game at home to Spurs with tonsillitis and was evidently missed as Dean Smith’s side conceded soft goals in a 3-2 defeat on Sunday.

Bjorn Engels, who replaced Mings in the side, was at fault for two of three of Spurs’ goals, conceding a penalty in first-half stoppage time and allowing Son Heung-min through for the winner in the 94th minute.

Bruce suggested a season spent in the second tier of English football has been instrumental in the rise of the former Bournemouth defender.

“A class act,” the former Northern Ireland international told Football Insider.

“I enjoy watching him play. He is a good player and has really kicked on and it shows how valuable experience is.

“When he went to Bournemouth he needed a while to adapt. He has had a really good season in the Championship last year and he has taken that confidence into this season with Aston Villa and England – where he did well. Really good player.

“They will be hoping he is back soon, definitely.” 

Mings was handed his first England cap in England’s 6-0 away win in Bulgaria last October.

Smith will hope his favoured centre-back recovers for the trip to Southampton this Saturday, with the League Cup final against Manchester City only a week later.

In other Aston Villa news, Kevin Phillips has told Football Insider criticism of player’s performance against Spurs is “harsh”.