Ings: Debut was dream come true
DANNY Ings says he wouldn’t trade places with England Under 21 team-mate Wilfried Zaha at Manchester United – because he believes Burnley are offering him the best platform to express himself at this stage in his career.
Ings (pictured left) teamed up with Zaha (below) during the international break after being called up to Gareth Southgate’s squad for the first time, and described it as ‘the best week of my life’.
Zaha lit up the Championship last season and was the main man behind Crystal Palace securing a return to the Premier League via the play-offs.
The young winger completed a £15million move to Manchester United during the January transfer window, but returned to Palace on loan.
He made his United debut in the Community Shield win over Wigan at Wembley in August but has not featured since.
“It must be frustrating for (Zaha) at United, but United’s such a big club it’s always going to be tough to get in there,” said Ings.
“From what I’ve seen I know he’s got the ability to and it’s only a matter of time before he gets in there.
“But for me I’m enjoying week in, week out Championship football, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
“There’s more chance in the Championship to express yourself and play and it’s important that young players like myself get games.”
Two serious knee injuries in his first 12 months at Turf Moor meant this is the first season Ings has been able to start for the Clarets.
But 11 goals to his name by early October proves the striker is making up for lost time since his £1million-plus move from Bournemouth in the summer of 2011.
After returning to training with Burnley as he prepares to resume Championship action at Ipswich Town tomorrow, the striker hopes he can continue to match the form that caught the eye of Gareth Southgate and keep himself in the U21 frame for next month’s European Championship games against Finland and San Marino.
“Always when you get a little sniff of something you want to grab it with both hands and get even more,” said Ings, who came off the bench against San Marino eight days ago to earn his first England U21 cap.
“That’s how I feel now. It’s tough for a Championship player to be called up into that set-up.
“But there’s lots of talent in the Championship. For me there’s not that much different to the Premier League, and that’s being shown because there are a few of us in the Under 21s now who are playing in the Championship.
“It just shows Gareth Southgate’s looking outside the Premier League and it’s been massive for me.”
Ings sat out the under 21s’ second game against Lithuania on Tuesday, coincidentally at Portman Road, as a precaution after taking a knock to his ankle in training.
Strike partner Sam Vokes missed the first of two World Cup qualifying games for Wales with an ankle knock, but recovered for the trip to Belgium on Tuesday – when he came on for the last 20 minutes.
Both forwards are fit for tomorrow’s game and Ings has received the added boost of positive feedback from Southgate.
“He said that I played well,” said the striker.
“He pulled me to one side and said that I’d trained really well and I was doing everything right.”
Ings added: “It was probably the best week of my life.
“Wearing the Three Lions on my shirt was a dream come true for me and my family.”