Player Focus – Tom Ince

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Last season really saw the emergence of a lot of young English players such as Wilfried Zaha who secured a £15m move from Championship club Crystal Palace to Manchester United and Raheem Sterling after a series of good performances which included a first call up and cap for the England national team, signed a 5 year contract with Liverpool which saw him jump from earning a measly £2000 to earning £30,000 which for an 18-year-old to earn is massive for him and for his career to flourish. One player that didn’t get much recognition is Blackpool’s Tom Ince. Son of Manchester United and Liverpool legend Paul Ince, Tom started his career as a reserve youth player at Liverpool but didn’t actually play for Liverpool and was sent to Notts County on a short-term loan deal which was successful by Ince, scoring 2 goals and getting 1 assist in 6 apps. He returned to Liverpool for the rest of the season but did not feature for the remainder of the season. At the end of the 2010-11 season he transferred to Blackpool for a disclosed fee but it was later revealed that he joined Bloomfield Road on a free transfer. In his first season at Blackpool, he scored 8 goals and got 10 assists in all competitions (Championship, Championship Play-offs, League Cup and FA cup). He was also called up by Stuart Pearce for the England U-21 squad for European Championship qualifiers. Then in 2013, he was united with his father as Paul Ince took the managerial role at Blackpool and helped steer Tom’s career into the right direction. In the summer transfer window, Ince was linked with teams like Swansea and Tottenham Hotspur and these rumours about Ince’s future persisted even up to transfer deadline day when then Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas put in an £8m bid in for the winger despite having already spent well over £100m but their attempt to lure Tom to North London was unsuccessful. But this month he is looking more likely to leave as his contract ends at the end of this season and I think Paul Ince would want to cash out on his son and use the money to buy more players to fuel their promotion chase. Another team that was interested in bringing the young starlet into the Premier League was Everton, which was strange as their play has always been very narrow under David Moyes but with him off to manage Manchester United and Roberto Martinez at the helm and his teams have traditionally always having wingers, Ince would have been the perfect player for this new-look Everton side. But Ince being a former Liverpool player, I doubt he’d have moved to Everton and with his dad being a former Liverpool player, he knows too well how the fans can be and the abuse you can receive. Getting abuse at such a young age could have had a detrimental effect on the player and I for one am glad for Tom that he didn’t switch for the blue Merseyside team. This January has been certainly been rumour filled with Ince, with Swansea and Monaco looking to buy the forward and both Tom and Paul Ince was photographed talking with club representatives from Swansea but it was then reported that they were from Monaco.

Tom and Paul Ince in talks with club representatives

Joining the Premier League would greatly benefit Tom Ince as he can bring a lot to the Premier League and can prove his worth as a player he is still very young at the age of 21 and this would the perfect time for him to join the Premier League and have a long and prosperous career in England’s top division. Another reason Ince would be eager to join the Prem this month is for the possibility of a spot in the England squad for the Brazil World Cup in the summer. With Arsenal man Theo Walcott out for 6 months and not being able to participate in the world cup, missing his 2nd world cup in a row after being dropped out of the England squad by Fabio Capello in 2010. Roy Hodgson will be looking for a replacement for Walcott and with the only viable replacement being the out of form Aaron Lennon, this would be a perfect opportunity for Tom to perform well in the league and catch the eye of Roy and give him something to think about when finalising the 23 man squad for the summer’s big event. Some strengths in Ince’s play is his crossing, passing and his set piece ability as well as his sprint speed and tendency to cut inside. Some weaknesses Ince has is holding on to the ball as he is not the tallest at 5’9 and is not very strong but his agility makes up for this. Due to his speed and agility, he often draws players towards him and teams are most times left with spaces so even though he is not the best at holding on to the ball, off the ball he is a very good player. I personally would love to see Ince come to the Premier League and prove to world how good he is and for him to showcase his talent on the big stage such as the Premier League.

ince-zaha-graphic

his graphic compares fellow England U-21 teammates Ince and Zaha

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