Peter Sharland on the English striker making waves in the Championship...
The 60-second story
Released from the Southampton Academy as a schoolboy, Winchester-born Danny Ings progressed through Bournemouth's ranks to make his first team debut at 17 in 2009.
Although dogged by serious injuries – at one point he was loaned to Dorchester Town to get game time – he started to get attention from Premier League clubs, but instead followed manager Eddie Howe to Burnley in August 2011 for around £1m… and immediately suffered a knee cartilage tear that ruled him out for five months. But since his return – and the departure of Charlie Austin – he has scored the goals to take Burnley top of the Championship.
Why you need to know him
Ings has started this season with 13 goals in 16 appearances in all competitions and his partnership with Sam Vokes is the main factor behind Burnley's rise to the top of the Football League.
Saturday's win in the crunch game against QPR illustrated the double-act's understanding, with Ings' opener created by Vokes without even looking for his strike partner. Ings also received his first call-up to the England U21s a few weeks ago, making his debut as a substitute against San Marino.
- Name: Danny Ings
- Age: 21
- Position: Striker
- Club: Burnley - 64 games, 19 goals
- Country: England
- Honours: N/A
Inevitably for a young English striker at Burnley comparisons will be made with last season’s goal machine Charlie Austin – now at QPR. But whereas Austin is purely a goalscorer, Ings is more of a team player, using space extremely well to bring his team-mates into play. He has proved his dedication by working on his aerial ability (he's 5ft 10in) to add to his natural flair for finishing.
The main concern with Ings is the nagging worry that another long-term injury is just around the corner: his unfortunate tendency for long lay-offs has meant that he rarely gets a consistent run of games under his belt.
In the 2009-10 season Ings barrel featured for Bournemouth's youth side because of an abdominal injury and his injury in his first week with Burnley wasn't his only at the club. At the start of last season he tore the cartilage in his opposite knee which ruled him out for six months.
Did you know?
Ings’ left arm features a tattoo of a phoenix rising from the ashes, captioned “The difference between the possible and impossible lies in a man’s determination.” The phrase is the perfect motto for Ings, who has remained focused despite his injury problems.
Burnley boss Sean Dyche has even had to urge Ings to tone down that determination to succeed. “He’s a young player who’s very demanding on himself – sometimes over-demanding. We spoke to him about finding that kind of relaxed focus to his game and not beating himself up about everything that goes wrong.
“He’s relaxed a bit with himself and he accepts the fact that not everything can be perfect. He wants to deliver good performances, he wants to improve which are all good things.”
What happens next?
Ings is contracted to Burnley until 2015 and manager Sean Dyche has mooted the possibility of a new deal being signed in the near future. Premier League sides have taken note of his performances though and the likes of Newcastle, Aston Villa, Sunderland and Crystal Palace are all reported to be interested in him.
A move in January could well be on the cards but it wouldn’t be without risk for a player that is still relatively unproven. For the time being Ings is focused on Burnley – and getting into the England U21 squad on a regular basis: “My form for Burnley is the only thing that is going to get me there, so I need to carry on what I did before the international break,” he said recently.
• Shooting 7 • Passing 7 • Heading 8 • Tackling 5 • Pace 7 • Work-rate 7 • Crossing 5 • Creativity 7 • Dribbling 6