‘There’s no doubt he’s good enough for England’: Brendan Rodgers says Danny Ings deserves another chance to play for his country after striker nets winner against his Leicester side
- Leicester were beaten 2-1 at Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday
- Striker Danny Ings scored the winning goal for the Saints in the 81st minute
- The English forward scored his 14th Premier League strike of the league season
- Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers has called for him to return to the England squad
Well, the future is now. It has taken the best part of five years, but the potential Rodgers identified in the then 22-year-old is finally showing itself on a permanent basis.
Brendan Rodgers shares a hug with Danny Ings following Leicester’s defeat to Southampton
Not that the Leicester boss is bitter. Instead, he is leading the calls for Ings to be rewarded with a return to the England squad, more than four years after winning his only cap.
Rodgers’ judgement, it would seem, was sound all along.
‘Danny has always been an outstanding player,’ he said. ‘He has an eye for goal, wants to run in behind, so his goal was typical Danny Ings – off the shoulder and he finishes it really well.
‘He just needs to keep the consistency and availability and he’ll show he’s one of the best strikers about. There’s no doubt he’s good enough for England. When he was at his best in and around Liverpool, he was certainly a player for that. I would definitely say he would be in consideration.’
Leicester manager Rodgers said Ings ‘has always been an outstanding player’ after his goal
Harry Kane’s injury coupled with Rodgers revealing last week that Jamie Vardy wants to remain in international retirement has heightened the need for an extra striking option ahead of this summer’s Euros.
Ings, at 27, has been the forgotten man in recent years, largely because of the two serious knee injuries that limited him to just six league starts in three seasons at Anfield.
To that end, his mileage is relatively low. More importantly, however, he has retained his acceleration.
So quick is Ings over a short distance that, in a VAR world, he is able to keep half a yard in his back pocket to stay the right side of the law, evidenced by his winner when he burst clear nine minutes from time.
Ings wheels away in celebration after scoring the winning goal at the King Power Stadium
But there is more to his game than goals, as useful as they are. He is also the trigger for Southampton’s high press – be that in minute one or 90.
Saints skipper James Ward-Prowse appreciates his team-mate’s contribution and has joined Rodgers in calling for England recognition.
‘I think he should be in the next squad,’ he said. ‘He’s done more than enough already, not just with his goals, but the way he is working without the ball as well. He sets the tone for us with his pressing.
‘There probably isn’t a better striker in the country right now.’
With 10 goals from his last 11 games, the numbers support Ward-Prowse’s claim. Ings has made the difference to the tune of 13 points this season and no player in the Premier League has impacted more on one team.
The striker is congratulated by his team-mates as he celebrates his match-winning strike
This latest win saw Saints exact revenge for the 9-0 defeat at home to Leicester just 11 weeks ago, a match Ward-Prowse admits was the lowest point of his career.
To watch Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side now, however, is to see a team mirroring their manager’s philosophy of high energy, intensity and incisive attacking play.
They had 16 shots to Leicester’s five here and, even after the home side took the lead through Dennis Praet, you always suspected the scoreline would reverse. The only surprise was that Ings’ winner did not come sooner, so threatening had the visitors been.
It will be an even bigger surprise if their talisman is not included in Gareth Southgate’s next England squad.