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Danny Ings, Southampton

Danny Ings – the homecoming of a Saints supporter

So, Saints fans, you got what you wanted, a deadline-day signing of a striker—but who is Danny Ings and how has he arrived home?

The 26-year-old Winchester-born Ings, started his footballing career in the youth ranks at Southampton trying to fulfil a boyhood dream of playing for his local club.

Unfortunately he was released at schoolboy level for allegedly being too small (similar to a certain Kevin Phillips). He grew up in Netley and attended both Netley Abbey Primary School and Hamble Community Sports College, whil continuing to pursue his footballing dreams at grassroots level in the local Tyro League with Itchen Tyro.

AFC Bournemouth

In May 2008 Ings signed a two-year apprentice contract with AFC Bournemouth, after impressing at their centre of excellence at Hamble Community Sports College, and even  featured for their reserve team.

He made his first-team debut as a second-half substitute in a 2-1 Football League Trophy loss to Northampton Town in October 2009.

After a short spell at the beginning of the 2010/11 season on loan at Dorchester Town, he was recalled by his parent club and from here started to feature prominently for the first team.

In February 2011 Ings would score his first professional goal in a 3-2 home win against Swindon Town.

Six further goals would follow between then and the end of that season, including his final goal for the club in a play off semi final defeat to Huddersfield on penalties.

His final appearance for the Dorset club would be the opening game of the following season, after which he followed his former manager Eddie Howe to the Championship.

Burnley

On 15th August 2011, Ings signed for Burnley in the Championship for a fee around £1 million.

He would have to wait until February 2012 to make his debut however due to injury, replacing Charlie Austin in a 2-0 win over Barnsley at Turf Moor.

His First goal for the Lancashire side came at the end of March in a 5-1 win at Fratton Park against Portsmouth ( that felt good to type).

He became a first-team regular during the 2012/13 season following Jay Rodriguez’s move to St Marys.

A second knee injury in the opposite one to the previous campaign meant Ings missed the opening six months of the campaign however.

Following the departure of Charlie Austin to Queens Park Rangers ahead of the 2013/14 season, Danny became Burnley’s main striker and this led to his most impressive and prolific period of his career so far to date.

He ended the season with 22 goals and being named the Championship player of the year at the Football League Awards, and his form helped ensure his team’s promotion to the Premier League via a second-place finish.

During his debut season in the top flight Ings scored 11 goals in 35 league appearances, which included a number of game-winning goals.

Unfortunately, though, his scoring exploits were not enough to save Burnley from a quick return to Championship. The club finished in 19th position on 33 points.

Danny left Burnley that summer for Liverpool with stats of 38 goals in 122 appearances not too shabby a return.

Liverpool

A tribunal set an initial £6.5 million fee with a further £1.5 million due in add ons to be paid by the Merseyside club for the striker’s services.

Ings made his Liverpool debut in August 2015 in a 3-0 defeat to West Ham at Anfield. The following month he made his European debut for the club, coming on as a substitute in a Europa League group stage game, against French side Bordeaux in a 1-1 draw.

Three days later, Ings scored his first Liverpool goal in double-quick fashion. Within three minutes of replacing Christian Benteke he netted the equalizer against Norwich City.

And the striker went on to etch his name in Liverpool lore when he opened the scoring in his derby debut at Goodison Park in October 2015. His joy was shortlived, however, after Everton equalized minutes later in a game which ended in a 1-1 draw.

A disastrous two-year injury-hit spell followed for the striker. It started with a left-cruciate knee injury suffered in training shortly after new manager Jurgen Klopp’s arrival. This set back ruled him out until the final game of the 2015/16 season.

He began the 2016/17 season in the reserves trying to regain his fitness, but another body blow would follow when he suffered a right-knee injury in a league cup game against Tottenham. This ruled him out for nine further months.

In September 2017 he made his first appearance for 11 months, during a 2-0 EFL cup defeat to Leicester City. He had to wait until April 2018 to score his first goal after his return in a 2-2 draw with West Brom, which was also his first under Jurgen Klopp and the first he had scored since 2015.

Southampton

On transfer deadline-day, Danny Ings’ career came full circle when signed for his boyhood club on an initial season-long loan deal which will become permanent next summer (I’m assuming there are caveats to the deal regarding his fitness given his injury history) for a touted £16-20 million fee.

He returns to the South Coast with a point to prove, and an appetite to make up for lost time. If he can avoid further visits to the treatment room, Saints could have a great deal on their hands.

It’s always good to see a local lad playing for our club, and I really hope Danny can find the form he showed for Burnley which saw him make his International debut with England back in 2015.

Let’s get behind him, fingers crossed the goals will start to flow home and away in the red and white stripes.

Welcome home, Danny Ings.

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