According to reports in The Telegraph, England manager Gareth Southgate is keeping close tabs on Southampton striker Danny Ings with a view to calling him up to the next Three Lions squad.
The Telegraph says that with an important UEFA Nations League double-header against Croatia and Spain to come next month, the 48-year-old is aware of his lack of attacking options.
With Jamie Vardy retiring from international football and two other members of the current squad – Danny Welbeck and Marcus Rashford – not first-team regulars for Arsenal and Manchester United respectively, there are opportunities for players like Ings to force their way into contention.
The report adds that Southgate is a long-term admirer of the 26-year-old having worked with him when he was manager of the U21s, and he will certainly have been impressed with how the explosive attacker has opened his Saints account with two goals in four Premier League appearances – including one in the 2-0 victory against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park last weekend.
While a call-up would obviously be great news for Ings and some further welcomed recognition for the club, his previous injury issues that have kept him on the sidelines for so long would mean that Hughes and the fans would be fearful of the former Burnley man going away with his country.
Southampton look to have found a player who can score the goals to keep them away from trouble and attempt to push for a top 10 finish, and they can’t afford to lose him.
Given his record over the course of the last couple of years, Saints supporters should be hoping that players like Callum Wilson impress Southgate even more than their man in the next few weeks in order to protect a player who will be crucial to their 2018/19 campaign.