The rock-solid defender talks to MATCH about his rise to becoming one of ENGLAND and ASTON VILLA’s best talents!

RISING TO THE TOP!

TYRONE SAYS: “When I was a mortgage advisor and playing non-league football, playing for England seemed a different world away! I’ve had to reassess my goals after going through injuries and stuff like that, but all of it makes it sweeter to now be a Premier League and England player!”

BEST PIECE OF ADVICE?

TYRONE SAYS: “Keep the end goal as your main goal. There have been a lot of difficult times throughout my career, like getting back onto the pitch when I was injured at Bournemouth, or bouncing back from rejection as a kid at Southampton. But doing everything I could to pursue my dream was the most powerful thing I could take with me on my journey.”

BEING A LEADER!

TYRONE SAYS: “Everybody has different ideas of leadership. When you look at Villa, Jack Grealish is a great example of a player who leads with his actions. He’s never scared to get on the ball and get a grip of the game. I’m very much a talker and I leave everything on the pitch. For me, what makes a great leader is somebody who can organise and take control.”

BOSSING THE PREM STATS CHARTS!

TYRONE SAYS: “My job as a defender is to clear the ball, head it and block it, so I certainly take pride when I see myself on those lists in the Premier League – that’s where you want to test yourself. But Bjorn Engels, next to me in our defence, has been just as important… although I’d like to see more clean sheets on those stats!”

VILLA’S VIRGIL VAN DIJK?

TYRONE SAYS: “Van Dijk’s one of the most complete centre-backs in world football, so to be mentioned in the same breath as him is an extremely positive thing. I watch as many clips of different centre-backs as possible, and he’s definitely one person I’d love to emulate. I’ve got a long way to go, but it’s nice. The Villa fans are brilliant, so their comparisons with him are fine by me!”

FIRST ENGLAND CALL-UP!

TYRONE SAYS: “I just felt that I needed exposure and game time to get into a rhythm and show what I could do. To be called up for the first time was a proud moment for me and my family, but there was never a time when I felt like I’d missed the boat. The manager’s comments about my performances and why I was called up helped make it easy for me to settle in.”

WEMBLEY MEMORIES!

TYRONE SAYS: “I’ve watched the Championship play-off final many times over the years, so the fact that I was able to play in one and win it was a special achievement. That’s definitely up there as one of the best days of my life! And yeah, those memories come flooding back whenever I’m back at Wembley with England!”

AIMING TO BE NO.1!

TYRONE SAYS: “I think the country has to be recognised as the best team in the world. There’s a little bit of a way to go before that happens, but the structure and collective culture that the manager is trying to put in place around the England set-up can carry us very far. Everyone is pulling in the same direction, so that’s what we’re working towards and that’s the goal.”