Burnley boss Sean Dyche’s thoughts on former Clarets striker Danny Ings ahead of Southampton clash at St Mary’s

Danny Ings
Danny Ings

Danny Ings has rediscovered the form which saw him rise to prominence with Burnley, earning a move to Liverpool.

Ings puts his 14-goal Premier League return so far this season - only bettered by Jamie Vardy and Sergio Aguero - down to confidence, and instinct.

His old boss at Turf Moor, Sean Dyche, is happy to see a player who grew to prominence under him back firing again.

And he feels he is at his best when he doesn’t over think things and just lets his ability speak for itself.

Ings hit 43 goals in 130 appearances for the Clarets after a £1m move from Bournemouth, following Eddie Howe eight months after he came north.

But, after two serious knee injuries, it was Dyche who got the best out of him, with Ings scoring 26 in 45 appearances in the Championship promotion season in 2013/14 - with Ings named Championship Player of the Year.

And he netted 11 in 37 the following season in the Premier League, before Liverpool came calling.

Dyche said, ahead of the meeting with Ings’ Southampton at St Mary’s on Saturday: “I think, when we had him here, he was actually his own worst critic.

“We loved what he was doing, but he did put a lot of pressure on himself at times, for different things.

“As you mature as a person you probably balance that out a little bit, I imagine.

“I haven’t spoken to Ingsy in years, but I get the feeling, from the outside looking in, you get that kind of calmness in your career when it starts coming together, ‘I get where it all lives, I’ve got a couple of quid, a couple of cars, whatever - I’ve done all that, that’s fine.

‘I’ve had my injuries, which isn’t fine but is part of the job sometimes, and I’ve come through all that and it’s kind of more of a level playing field.’

“It seems to me he’s just focused on ‘okay, let’s play’, and that’s when he’s at his best in my opinion, even when he was younger, when he just focuses on going and playing, play naturally and then he becomes a good player.

“And he’s certainly showing signs of that.”

Ings’ confidence was vividly demonstrated on New Year’s Day when he lifted the ball over Spurs’ centre back Toby Alderweireld - think Paul Gascoigne beating Colin Hendry at Euro 96 - and finished clinically.

Ings said: “If anything it showed my confidence in that moment.

“It’s definitely my favourite this season. It reminded me of the momentum I had at Burnley when I could try different things and they would come off.

“It’s amazing what confidence can do. That’s what you see with the top players in the game. They have confidence all the time and they have no shame in trying different things.

“Sometimes it comes off and sometimes it doesn’t. It felt really good to score a goal like that.”

Ings certainly had that off the cuff brilliance at Burnley, but Dyche feels he is more rounded with experience: “I think there’s probably less of that now (off the cuff) because his game understanding will have matured.

“Even though he’s been injured, he still had enough games in between and had been in environments at Liverpool and Southampton where it can rub off on you.

“But rather than just natural, I think he’ll see the picture clearly as well, because he is a bit older and wiser.”