Southampton supporters have been in high spirits during the two-week break for internationals after seeing their team pick up a vital Premier League victory in their last outing.
Mark Hughes’ men went into their clash with Crystal Palace having picked up just one point from their first three games, drawing 0-0 against Burnley alongside defeats at the hands of Everton and Leicester City. Yet the Saints recorded their first success of the campaign last time out as goals from Danny Ings and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg sealed a 2-0 victory over Roy Hodgson’s Eagles, thus moving the South Coast outfit up to 12th place in the Premier League table.
As such, there have been many delighted Southampton fans up and down the country in recent times, several of whom are likely to be intrigued by recent comments from Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson, who has suggested that England ‘could do a lot worse than take a look at’ striker Ings.
And while it is still in the early stages of the season, the ex-Arsenal midfielder is absolutely right to suggest that the Saints ace should get an international return.
Ultimately, 26-year-old Ings has one England cap to his name which came back in October 2015 against Lithuania, but his chances of returning to the Three Lions set-up has been thwarted by recurrent injury problems in recent times.
In fact, his lowly position down the pecking order at Liverpool prompted Jurgen Klopp to send him out on loan to St Mary’s, and doing so appears to have done the striker the world of good given he has already netted twice in four Premier League appearances for Hughes’ side.
Ings’ goal-scoring abilities and predatory instincts in the penalty area have never really been in question, but the injury problems and thus the fitness certainly have been in recent times – yet at present he looks in good shape and close to the level that earned him a move to Anfield in the summer of 2015.
As such, England boss Gareth Southgate should certainly be keeping tabs on the Southampton forward, as outside of star striker Harry Kane, the Three Lions aren’t currently spoilt for choice in the attacking third of the pitch.
Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford scored against both Spain and Switzerland during the recent international break to underline his credentials in front of goal, but Danny Welbeck was the only other striker in Southgate’s squad, and he has yet to start for Arsenal this season.
Add in the retirement of Jamie Vardy, who has been a regular in England squads in the last few years, alongside the struggles of Daniel Sturridge, and there really aren’t many genuine options for Southgate to call upon at present – Ings appears to be one though.
And with messrs Welbeck and Sturridge, as well as Jermain Defoe and Dominic Solanke, struggling for regular minutes at their clubs, the door could well be open for the Southampton striker to return to the fold in next month’s internationals – Southgate should certainly be keeping tabs on his exploits.
Thus, Merson is absolutely spot on to suggest that Ings should get an international return.
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