Darren Bent claims that it was harsh of Gareth Southgate to axe Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings from the England starting XI against Montenegro.

The former Villa and England striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, says he can understand why John Stones was given the chance alongside Harry Maguire on Thursday night but that it was cruel to see Mings dropped to the bench.

Mings picked up his first cap for the Three Lions back in October against Bulgaria, playing the full 90 minutes on the way to a 6-0 victory.

Bent says that the possession-based tactics utilised by Southgate suited John Stones’ style of play but that Mings probably did not deserve to be dropped after impressing for both club and country.

Bent told Football Insider: “No one really spoke about him getting left out, it kind of went under the radar. I don’t know if it was because of the occasion or what.

“This is where Gareth Southgate is very, very good and clever because I thought it was perfect for John Stones, although there were a couple times where Montenegro carved them through the middle – you need to cut that out because against top teams those chances are going to get buried. 

“It was perfect for Stones because they had a lot of the ball, you didn’t really need a defensive player, you need someone who’s good with the ball at his feet and can play out from the back.

“Mings is very, very good. He can count himself unfortunate to be left out but that’s the thing when you’ve got that many options.”

Mings has played every minute of Villa’s Premier League campaign after their promotion to the top flight, returning to join Dean Smith’s side on a permanent basis over the summer.

As well as Stones and Maguire, Mings is also fighting with Chelsea’s Fikayo Tomori for a place in the England side.

In other Aston Villa news, Noel Whelan claims a “crazy” player update from Villa Park is “massively cruel”.