FORMER Reading FC striker Dave Kitson has suggested Tyrone Mings could have been banned for 10 games for the incident which left Nelson Oliveira with severe facial injuries.

Aston Villa’s on-loan Mings caught Oliveira in the face with his studs as they challenged for the ball in Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Madejski Stadium.

Oliveria, making his home debut after joining from Norwich City on loan, required surgery to repair a broken nose and deep cuts and is now recovering at home.

Whether Mings did it deliberately is the debate, and the FA confirmed yesterday he cannot face retrospective punishment as the gory incident was seen by referee Geoff Eltringham at the time.

However, ex-Premier League referee Mark Halsey and Oliveira’s wife were among those to speak out yesterday and suggest Mings knew exactly what he was doing.

The 25-year-old was hit with a retrospective five-match ban by the FA in 2017 after stamping on the head of former Manchester United striker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

And Royals promotion-winner Kitson weighed into the argument this morning in his column in The Sun newspaper.

He writes: "This is Mings’ second stamp. After stamping on the head of Ibrahimovic, his punishment was a five-game ban. Surely a full investigation and, if found guilty, a ten-game ban for the stamp on Oliveira should have been the minimum punishment this time round.

"However, because the referee saw the incident, the FA cannot act for fear of undermining one of their own. And yet we now have VAR exactly because referees get decisions wrong - whether they’ve seen them or not.

"It stands to reason then that if referees get penalty claims wrong then they can also get stamps wrong."

Kitson described Mings’ subsequent social media post saying: “no one feels worse than me,” as a "hollow apology," adding Oliveira was "extremely fortunate not to lose an eye."

Kitson, 39, stated: “I never shied away from playing against tough opponents during my career.

“Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, John Terry and Sol Campbell to name a few, were all physically tough and aggressive when they had to be. But they were also largely fair men that knew the boundary line wasn’t down the centre of an opponent’s face.”

Finally, Kitson wished Royals well in their battle for Championship survival, saying: “Hopefully Oliveira will recover from his horrific injuries very soon and score the goals that will help my old club stay up because I love going back to watch Reading.”

Kitson will be inducted into Royals’ Hall of Fame next month, having been part of Steve Coppell’s Championship-winning squad of 2005/05 alongside the likes of Graeme Murty, Marcus Hahnemann, Steve Sidwell, James Harper and Kevin Doyle.

“We won the league with an incredible record of 106 points and, so far as I remember, we did it without having to stamp on a single person's face, he quipped.”

Former England and Southampton ace and media pundit Matt Le Tissier also suggested Oliveira’s injury could have been avoided.

He tweeted: “My opinion is that if that was a child he was about to tread on he could and would have found a way to miss it.”