Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings and Ollie Watkins boost World Cup squad chances

The Villa players will have impressed Gareth Southgate during the victory over Ivory Coast

England continued their preparations for the World Cup by cruising to a 3-0 friendly win over 10-man Ivory Coast at Wembley on Tuesday evening (29 March).

Aston Villa pair Tyrone Mings and Ollie Watkins will have done no harm to their chances of making Gareth Southgate’s 2022 World Cup squad next winter after both players scored for their country against the Ivorians.

Watkins celebrated his first Three Lions start by tapping home the opening goal after being set up by Raheem Sterling, who scored the second.

And Mings completed the scoring on an effortless evening for Southgate’s men with a towering header from a corner late on.

Neither Watkins or Mings are regular starters for England, but both players have performed well when called upon for their country, and goals from both players last night will have boosted their chances of being on the plane for Qatar come November.

Ollie Watkins celebrates with Tyrone Mings after scoring during the international friendly match between England and Cote D’Ivoire at Wembley Stadium (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Southgate unhappy with Maguire reception

Following the game, Gareth Southgate said it was an “absolute joke” that Harry Maguire was jeered by some England fans and Jack Grealish called the treatment of his team-mate “ridiculous”.

Under-fire Manchester United captain Maguire was among those brought in for last night’s fixture and was greeted by a smattering of boos at Wembley, where his name had received a similar reaction on Saturday.

There were even some jeers during the defender’s first few touches of the ball in the 3-0 win against 10-man Ivory Coast – a baffling reaction that infuriated England’s manager.

“I thought the reception was a joke, an absolute joke,” he told Sky Sports.

“What he has done for us, the way he has performed for England, I don’t get it. We are either in this all together or we are not.”

Southgate not only felt the abuse of Maguire unacceptable but damaging to the rest of the England squad.

“I don’t understand how it benefits anybody because we’re either all in it together or we’re not,” the England boss said on a night when Ollie Watkins, Raheem Sterling and Tyrone Mings scored for the hosts.

“I would imagine if you asked a few actually why were they doing that they might not even be able to answer because it becomes a mob mentality.

“Of course at one end of the ground we’ve got a hardcore section of fans who are playing his song and trying to get his name sung, so I’m very aware it’s not everybody.

“But we’re either all in this together or we’re not, and don’t think for one minute the other players won’t be looking at that thinking ‘that could be me one day’”.

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