Danny Ings will be out injured for a little while, but Southampton fans can breathe a sigh of relief.
Ings, 28, crumpled in a heap late on in the 4-3 win at Aston Villa last weekend and given his record with serious knee injuries the signs did not look good.
Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has given the latest update, as Ings requires a ‘small surgery’ to fix the issue in his knee but the England international should be fit by mid-December.
“We said after the game that we hoped it wasn’t bad,” Hasenhuttl said. “It could have been much worse, but at the moment he’s out for maybe 4-6 weeks. He’ll have a small surgery tomorrow. He’s definitely out for now. It’s a small surgery but a necessary one.”
Danny Ings scored 22 Premier League goals last season, finishing one behind golden boot winner Jamie Vardy, and he’s looked in superb form so far this season with five goals and two assists in his opening seven games.
He also scored his first goal for England during the October international break and he will now miss England’s three games in November.
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In some ways, this injury comes at best possible time for Ings and Southampton as he can spend the next three weeks recovering without them playing a game.
How can Southampton cope without Ings?
He is obviously out for their clash at home with Newcastle on Friday (watch live, 3pm ET on Peacock Premium), as a win for Southampton would momentarily take them top of the Premier League table.
“We like to be the pirate, it’s more fun than to join the Navy,” Hasenhuttl said as Southampton sit in fifth place early in the season and only Manchester City and Liverpool have won more PL games than them in 2020.
Saints seem likely to be without another trio for that game as Ryan Bertrand (hamstring), Jan Bednarek (concussion) and Ibrahima Diallo (dead leg) are all struggling to be fit.
27 – Since the start of last season, only Jamie Vardy (29) has scored more Premier League goals than Danny Ings (27), while no player has scored more from outside the box than Ings (5) in this period. Dynamite. pic.twitter.com/qE4BAIdjmH
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 1, 2020
Hasenhuttl will now look to Shane Long to replace Ings up top, or he could move Theo Walcott into a central striker position and bring Moussa Djenepo or Nathan Redmond in as a winger.
After his injury nightmare at Liverpool with back-to-back serious knee injuries (he also suffered big injuries during his early career with Bournemouth and Burnley), he’s been largely fit for Southampton over the last two seasons so Saints won’t be used to playing without Ings. His importance to Saints is clear (see the stat above) so there is no replacing him.
Che Adams, his strike partner this season, will now carry the load and Long, Michael Obafemi and Walcottt give Hasenhuttl plenty of options to try and keep Southampton ticking over without Ings.
Losing Ings is far from ideal for Southampton but this injury looked like it could have been far worse.