Former Liverpool striker Danny Ings showcased just how much progress he has made in the last 12 months after bagging his first goal for his country last night.
The Southampton star man led the line for England in a friendly against Wales in only his third ever international appearance. Gareth Southgate opted to deploy Ings alongside in-form Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who also got himself on the scoresheet.
Since his move from Merseyside last year, Ings has hit an astonishing upward trajectory. His hard work and dominant presence for his new club has more than paid off after pulling on his Three Lions jersey twice this year following a five-year absence.
After a difficult four years at Liverpool, Ings made the decision to ply his trade elsewhere. Southampton came knocking for his services last summer and paid a respectable £20million for him, certainly an amount Ralph Hasenhuttl will see as very well spent now. Indeed, the 28-year-old will also see the move as one of the best career decisions he has ever made.
Ings was hammered by injuries during his time on Merseyside, spending a total of 498 days out of action with knee problems. After tearing his ACL in 2015, the forward missed 85 senior matches for the Reds and had fallen drastically down the pecking order once he did return (via Transfermarkt). The arrival of Roberto Firmino and with Daniel Sturridge next in line meant Ings saw very little action during his final years at Liverpool.
But his switch to Southampton seems to have sparked a whole new era in Ings’ career. Last season he finished as Hasenhuttl’s top scorer with an impressive 22 goals in the Premier League. The Winchester-born ace finished with the same amount of goals as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, just one behind Golden Boot winner Jamie Vardy (via Premier League).
His recent form has kickstarted the fire many thoughts Ings had lost after his ACL surgery. After opening up his international account with a stunning bicycle kick against Wales, it’s going to be very hard for Southgate to ignore him as a glaring option moving forward.
Ings’ return to the England squad wasn’t just about his goal either. He had a solid performance alongside strike partner Calvert-Lewin and played the full 90 minutes, something that was perhaps unexpected.
The 28-year-old had 100% shot accuracy and made a further key pass in addition to his goal scored. He also won three out of his eight duels attempted, which is a respectable number for a striker (via FotMob).
It can only be expected that Ings will continue his upward climb this season for both club and country. After his strong performance against Wales, he could be in contention to take part in the upcoming EUROs.