Crunch time for John Stones, Tyrone Mings and Conor Coady in race to make the plane for Qatar World Cup

JOHN STONES, Tyrone Mings and Conor Coady lived the Three Lions dream last summer.

The defenders were part of a heroic England squad which came within a penalty shootout of Euros glory.

Coady is set for a move to Everton in search of game time


Coady is set for a move to Everton in search of game timeCredit: Getty
Mings has been stripped of the captaincy at Villa


Mings has been stripped of the captaincy at VillaCredit: Getty
Stones is not a regular at Man City


Stones is not a regular at Man CityCredit: Getty

Yet fast forward a year and Gareth Southgate would have wasted a trip if he went to watch one of them on the season’s opening weekend.

Stones, Mings and Coady are out of favour at Manchester City, Aston Villa and Wolves.

All three have big decisions to make in the coming weeks if they are to make it to this winter’s Qatar  World Cup.

Liverpool fan Coady, who had his Everton medical yesterday ahead of a loan switch from Wolves,  has never let his club or country down.

Coady did not play a minute of Euros action  — but his infectious personality saw Three Lions assistant Steve Holland hail him as England’s player of the tournament.

Wolves boss Bruno Lage describes him in the same glowing terms — yet cannot guarantee him games now.

For the past five years the Scouser was probably the first name on their teamsheet.

But that was in a three-man defence and Lage favours playing two centre-backs in a four-man defence.


The Portuguese coach paired up England contender Max Kilman and new £20.5million signing Nathan Collins against Leeds in a 2-1 opening-day defeat — leaving Coady asking for directions to the bench.

The route to Merseyside will be more familiar for the defender, who came through the Anfield club’s famous academy.

However, half of his family are Toffees supporters and Coady will not have an issue with wearing his heart on the blue sleeve of Everton.

He now has three months to prove himself before boss Southgate names his squad for Qatar and Wolves are not standing in his way after seven years of outstanding service.

So Coady will head off to pastures blue to resurrect his World Cup dream.

Meanwhile, Mings’ fall from grace can be traced back to a loss of form last season. 

It is largely forgotten Dean Smith axed Mings for his final home game in charge of Villa against West Ham.

Despite starring in three of England’s Euros  ties last summer, Mings failed to make Southgate’s squads at the end of last season.

Villa chief Steven Gerrard urged the centre-back to focus on his own game this summer — and installed  midfielder John McGinn as his new skipper.

Mings has not even made the cut as one of Gerrard’s two vice-captains — with new signing Diego Carlos and keeper Emiliano Martinez preferred.

After struggling with a groin injury, Mings then lost his starting place to Ezri Konsa and Carlos for Saturday’s opening 2-0 defeat by Bournemouth.

So Mings has now lost his England place, the Villa captain’s armband and his place in Gerrard’s team.

Gerrard said yesterday: “When I made the decision over the captaincy, I set him a challenge — ‘if you get back to your consistent best, you’ll be back in the team’.

“He’s also missed some training time with an injury and there’s a niggle in the background as well.

“When Tyrone is back at his best and looks me in the eye and shows  he’s ready to play, he’ll get opportunities.”

Finally, Stones remains City’s human boomerang.

Despite losing his Etihad spot to Aymeric Laporte last season, the ball-playing  centre-back still started all seven of England’s Euros games after impressing as a stand-in right-back for boss Pep Guardiola.

In fact, he was Southgate’s most used outfield player with 679 minutes of game-time — bettered only by Jordan Pickford’s 690 minutes.

But Stones has his work cut out again after missing City’s pre-season tour of the United States for failing to meet entry requirements.

That gave Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake the chance to start the season for City and — with Laporte due to  return from knee surgery in September — Stones is facing a battle for crucial minutes.

Southgate’s wounded Lions really have it all to do . . . 

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