Southampton’s savior this season has been local lad Danny Ings.
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He now has 11 goals in the Premier League so far this season, with seven in his last seven as he scored twice to set them up for a huge 3-1 win away at relegation rivals Aston Villa on Saturday.
After spending last season on loan at Saints, the move became a $26 million permanent transfer from Liverpool in the summer and Ings was finally injury free and had a full preseason.
Speaking after the win at Villa to BBC Sport, Ings’ manager Ralph Hasenhuttl is delighted.
“Danny is fantastic at the moment, he’s absolutely outrageous at the moment and I’m very happy for him,” Hasenhuttl said.
As for the man of the moment, he praised the work the team is putting in as they’ve now won three of their last five games to bounce back after a tough start to the season.
“It is very, very important for us as a team, the fans and everyone at the club,” Ings told BBC Solent. “We didn’t start the season too strong but to come here and win the way we did today, that shows real promise for us as a team that we are working hard to turn all our mistakes from previous games into positives. Today we showed a proper professional performance.”
Ings’ comeback has been so impressive and he looks like he’s going to score every time he steps on the pitch right now. He was denied by the post and crossbar last week against West Ham, while he also scored a screamer which was ruled out due to a foul in the build-up, and he scored in his five games before he fired a blank against the Hammers.
Simply put, Ings is on fire. If he stayed fit, this was always likely to happen.
He is just the third player in Southampton’s history to hit double figures in a season before Christmas Day and he says it is all down to an intense offseason.
“It is great, it really is great, I worked extremely hard in the offseason,” Ings said. “Last year I couldn’t give as much as I wanted to due to fitness and things like that but this year I’ve worked really hard to get into the shape I’m in and every day, coming into training, for games, I am having fun. I am enjoying my football again. When I’m enjoying my football it brings out the best in me and I know there is still more to come and I’m going to work extremely hard to make sure I fulfil my potential here.”
Right now he looks certain to get a call-up for the England national team in March and although Gareth Southgate isn’t short of options in attack, Ings’ pace and ability to be in the right place at the right time is Jamie Vardy-esque. Vardy probably isn’t going to come out of retirement for EURO 2020, so Ings would be a great option for England.
Saints hope he will 1) stay fit and 2) keep scoring as they are now out of the relegation zone and three points clear of trouble ahead of a tough festive period with Tottenham, Crystal Palace and Liverpool up next.