Returning Players: Danny Ings

Welcome to Last Word on Football’s ‘Returning Players’ series. In this edition, we take a look at Southampton striker Danny Ings. The striker was at his local club as a schoolboy before making a return to the south coast in 2018.

Returning Players – Danny Ings

First Spell at Southampton

Southampton have played a large part in the career of Ings but his initial dreams of turning out for his boyhood club initially failed to come to fruition. He did join as a schoolboy but he would have to wait until 2008 to pick up an apprenticeship with Bournemouth.

Teams That Danny Ings Played for in Between

Ings had performed well and caught the eye during his spell with Bournemouth up until 2011 and gained admiring glances from the likes of Celtic and Newcastle United before signing for Burnley. Ings had played under manager Eddie Howe at Bournemouth and rejoined him at the Lancashire club.

In the 2013/14 season, the striker was named Player of the Month in the Championship for October before winning Championship Player of the Year after scoring 22 goals and helping Burnley win promotion to the Premier League after finishing second.

Ings’ strength and eye for goal continued to catch the eye in the Premier League and in his first-ever season in the top flight he managed 11 goals in 35 appearances. Even bigger things were around the corner for the striker and he signed for Liverpool in 2015.

When Ings signed for Liverpool in the summer of 2015, the player seemed to have come of age but it was to be a period of injury and coming out against new signings that saw him brushed aside for most of his time. That is not to say that he didn’t still show his abilities whilst at the club.

His first goal for Liverpool came in a 1-1 draw against Norwich City, but in October, he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury to his left knee in new boss Jurgen Klopp’s first training session, ruling him out for the remainder of the season. It was a blow but Ings was determined not to accept being out and he worked hard to appear in the last match of that season against West Bromwich Albion. It was a sign of his dedication and passion for his profession.

Sadly for Ings, he would suffer another bad injury but this time to his right knee, keeping him out of action for a further nine months. He finally came back again in a game against Leicester City in the League Cup.

Injury, and the form of strikers Sadio Mane, Mohammed Salah and Roberto Firmino, meant that Ings was starved of first-team action and after his injuries, the player was desperate to move on and kick start his career once more. The club that would rescue Ings from his Merseyside misery and give him a platform for success was his boyhood club.

Return to Southampton

In August 2018, Ings joined Southampton. Whilst Ings’ first spell at the Saints was incidental, his return has proved to be a success for the player.

His initial season was on loan as Klopp, despite not giving the player many minutes, was keen on the players’ attitude and did not want to lose a backup striker who could get goals when needed.

However, after a successful loan spell, Saints signed Ings on a permanent basis.

Goals he did score, and in the 2019/20 Premier League season he became only the third Southampton player to hit 20 goals in a season following in the footsteps of Saints royalty Matt Le Tissier and James Beattie. He finished the season with 25 goals in all competition and such was his proficiency he was only beaten to the Golden Boot by Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy, finishing level with Pierre-Emerick Aubamayang of Arsenal.

Injuries have played a part again this season but the striker is still a key part of Ralph Hassenhüttl’s side.

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