Why Danny Ings deserves an England recall
After a run of good form in recent weeks, Southampton fans are breathing a little easier. After flirting with the relegation zone for most of the season, the Saints have won four of their last five matches to rise to 12th in the table, and are improving their chances in English Premier League odds.
Much of this recent success is owed to the form of striker Danny Ings. The Englishman has been a player reborn this season, having bagged 14 goals in the Premier League so far in this campaign. After three seasons at Liverpool in which he was plagued by recurrent injuries, Ings has rediscovered himself on the south coast.
This has led to calls for Ings to be reintroduced to the England setup. The striker does have experience of playing for England, having been a part of Roy Hodgson’s squad for the final qualifying matches for Euro 2016. He made his debut against Lithuania, replacing Harry Kane in a 3-0 win.
That will feel like a long time ago for the England striker, but his form has given England manager Gareth Southgate plenty to ponder. Former Three Lions striker Ian Wright has been vocal in his support for Ings to be called up, as has Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers, after Ings scored the winner in Southampton’s 2-1 win over the Foxes at the King Power Stadium.
It’s the consistency of Ings’ goal-scoring that has been so impressive this season. He has scored in 13 different matches for Southampton, proof that he can be relied upon to get on the scoresheet almost every week. Only Jamie Vardy has scored more than Ings in the Premier League this season, and he has outscored big names like Mohamed Salah, Sergio Agüero, Sadio Mané and fellow England striker Kane.
The latest news is that Kane could well miss Euro 2020 after suffering an unfortunate hamstring injury. England may need a striker to step up in his absence for the March friendlies against Italy and Denmark, and for the Euros when the tournament gets underway in June.
Pressure will be on Marcus Rashford to deliver for England if Kane does miss out, but if Ings is brought into the fold then that load can be shared somewhat. Ings brings qualities that few other England strikers possess – the kind of bustling, harrying attributes that have seen him capitalise on numerous individual defensive errors in the Premier League this season. He is a player who frightens defenders by being a constant menace, hot on their heels, ready to pounce on any loose touch or misplaced pass.
The worry for Ings between now and the summer is that those troublesome injuries that have haunted him in recent seasons will rear their ugly head once again. So far, he has looked in peak form and fitness this season, and both Southampton and England fans will be hoping that continues for many months to come.
On a personal level, Ings will feel like he has unfinished business in the England setup. His solitary cap came at a time when the striker was riding the crest of a wave. He had just completed a dream transfer to Liverpool and was beginning to fulfil his potential. There have been stormy times since then, but Ings is finally sailing through smooth waters and enjoying his football once again. An England call-up seems inevitable, and it will be the fitting reward for Ings’ resilience and determination to get back to his best.