With the surname ‘Ince,’ he has got a lot to live up to, but Thomas Ince is already making a name for himself at the Liverpool Academy. Son of former Liverpool player Paul, the “Guvnor’s” son has made a very good impression while playing for Liverpool’s U-18 side. Unlike his father, Thomas’s playing style is more like Ryan Giggs, with his fleet footedness he can trouble any opposition defence and he demonstrated his abilities on the ball during the FA Youth Cup last season.
Ince usually plays as a left winger but some of his best performances so far have been where he is played in attacking midfield, in a supporting role for a striker, allowing him to link up play and make some troubling runs at the exposed opposition back-four. His partnership with Finnish striker Lauri Dalla Valle last year really contributed to Liverpool U-18s successful season and Ince will be hoping to impress once again this term as he bids to progress through Liverpool’s youth ranks.
Since returning from Italy to join Liverpool in 1997, the Ince family have always kept a family home in the Wirral and Thomas has progressed through school level in the local area up until the point he has turned professional with Liverpool. He signed a three year scholarship with Liverpool in the summer of 2008, and he has never looked back since. During his first season at the club, he played a very important role in helping Liverpool’s U-18 side to their third FA Youth Cup final in four years.
Ince gave an outstanding man of the match performance in the third round of the Youth Cup last season in a 2-1 win against Leeds United at Elland Road. During the match he played as the support striker, behind Dalla Valle, and capped off a tremendous display by scoring a 25 yard free kick only fifteen minutes into the match. He has an exceptional left-foot which can curl in free kicks or provide great crosses for team-mates when playing in his left wing role. Such crossing ability was demonstrated in the fifth round match of the Youth Cup last season. He swung in a dangerous corner to provide David Amoo with a goal which turned out to be the winner against Chelsea in a 1-0 win at Anfield.
Ince certainly has passion for the Liverpool team as he dedicated the 3-0 semi-final first leg win against Birmingham to the 96 that died at Hillsborough:
When we went to Anfield and saw the fans paying their tributes it was unbelievable. It was an inspiration for us. We knew it wasn’t only that we had a potential final to look forward to, but the fact that we could pay our own tribute to the 96 that died.
The young midfielder also contributed well during the match playing as the support striker behind Dalla Valle who scored two goals, and he enjoyed the position:
Over the last few games I have been playing in that position as it allows me to get in the gap between midfield and the back four, which allows me to do what I do best. I am enjoying the role and I feel I am more involved in the game.
Despite losing 6-2 on aggregate in the final against Arsenal in May, Ince still has looked to push on this season as he once again wants to progress and this time win the FA Youth Cup. He certainly has the same winning mentality as his father. Another man of the match display from Ince, this time against Wolves in the third round of the competition this season at the end of last month, he scored a goal and troubled the opposition right back all night as Liverpool progressed through to the fourth round. Playing once more as a left winger in a 4-2-3-1 formation, Ince proved a real handful for Wolves’s right-back Jack Metcalf, and the defender showed his frustration by picking up a yellow card for a challenge on Ince in the second half. His father Paul, assistant manager Sammy Lee and Kenny Dalglish were all watching in the crowd and all could not fail to be impressed by the performance of the young left-winger.
Although there are certainly still improvements to be made in Ince’s game, most importantly his finishing which was evident by the fact that he could have had a hat-trick against Wolves, he is definitely a very promising youngster who will in the not-too-distant future catch the eye of Rafa Benitez.