By Noel Whelan

18th Oct, 2019 | 2:07pm

'Fantastic' - Exclusive: Whelan blown away by mentality of 'huge' Aston Villa player

Noel Whelan heaped praise on Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings following the centre-back making his England debut.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Laura O’Leary, the ex-Coventry City and Leeds United player gushed about how important the centre-back was to Dean Smith’s side.

Mings won his first England cap in the 6-0 win over Bulgaria after being an unused substitute for the previous clashes with Bulgaria, Kosovo and Czech Republic.

Whelan highlighted Mings’ display for England and pointed out that the 26-year-old didn’t just wow due to what he did on the ball but impressed due to his great mentality and strong character in the face of a hostile atmosphere.

“He’s huge to Aston Villa, I even said that at the back end of last season,” Whelan told Football Insider.

“There’s maturity in the player, intelligence in the player and we even saw that with England as he got on with his job in a fantastic manner.

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“He seems a great guy to have in your changing room, very level-headed and competitive.

“It didn’t daunt him, making his England debut, he looked more than comfortable and I think he would have impressed on both sides of things.

“The way he handled the situation with the racism, the situation with the linesman when he was raising awareness about the racism, and he put in a controlled performance and with that going on, it shows he has a great mentality and strong character.

“He is so important to Aston Villa, that’s why they went out and spent money on him, he’s a leader for club and country.”

Mings has played in every minute of the Villans’ Premier League campaign so far this season and has even managed to rack up one assist in the process.

The centre-back joined Dean Smith’s side on a permanent basis from Bournemouth in the summer after spending his 2018/19 campaign on loan at Villa Park.

In other Aston Villa news, Hutton suggests that Dean Smith is secretly delighted with one star man’s disappointment.