Being the son of Paul Ince, young Tom Ince has a pretty strong reputation to live up to. Coming from such a famous footballing family, Ince has had to play under the added pressure that comes from such an association. And after falling short at Liverpool as a youngster, it might have spelt the end of the continuation of the Ince love affair with football.
But now Ince junior could be following in his father’s footsteps and could soon be gracing the same turf of his senior if a proposed interest from Man United proves founded. Sir Alex Ferguson has been an admirer of Tom Ince for a while, and after another impressive display on Tuesday night for Blackpool, that admiration will have grown stronger still. Ince capped another commanding performance with a goal as Blackpool finally got their season back on track with a morale-boosting win at Hillsborough, but it also pushed Ince further into the shopping window.
His performance was the latest in a string of fine displays that is putting Ince firmly on the Premier League radar as the January transfer window edges closer. Whilst time may be counting down to the said transfer window, time is certainly not closing in on Ince, who, at the age of 20, has the world at his feet, and will soon be having difficult decisions to make regarding his future. He had opportunities to join the Premier League over the summer, with serious interest shown by both Swansea and Southampton. But Ince was prepared to remain at Bloomfield Road and develop his potential under the guidance of Ian Holloway. It appears to have been a smart move, as Ince has gone from strength to strength this season, improving aspects of his game that he may have not had the opportunities of doing so in the Premier League
With Holloway now out of the picture, after his managerial move to Crystal Palace, Ince may now be willing to contemplate a move away from Blackpool, especially with the side showing no imminent signs of a Premier League return. And an offer from Manchester United will surely prove too hard to resist. With Nani’s departure from Old Trafford seemingly an inevitability, a pacy winger is likely to be top of Sir Alex Ferguson’s winter shopping list. He’ll struggle to orchestrate a bargain, however, as Blackpool will surely only be prepared to sell with an offer that suits their terms and requirements.
They hype surrounding Tom Ince is certainly justifiable. Unlike many wingers in the Championship, he has an end product to match his approach play, and he has already chipped in with ample goals and assists for Blackpool this season. He is a different specimen of player compared to his father, but both have that undeniable talent needed to play for the elite. He is versatile, quick and exactly the kind of player you want running at tiring defences. Whilst there is an unquestionable gap in terms of quality between the defenders he comes up against in the Championship compared to those in the Premier League, Ince is showing all the right signs that he is more than capable of making the step up.
Having an Ince around Old Trafford again would be ironic, the kind of story saved for scriptwriters, but there is a distinct possibility of this fiction becoming fact. Paul Ince played over 200 games for Manchester United spanning seven years, including the maiden Premier League season. Tom Ince could well be about to embark on a career of similarities.