Southgate delighted with Ings brace

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Published: Friday 14th November 2014 by The News Editor

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England Under-21s boss Gareth Southgate was delighted to see Burnley’s Danny Ings pen the perfect script as he claimed a brace at Turf Moor in the victory over Portugal.

The Clarets striker revelled in the comfort of his club’s home, taking his tally to four goals in six appearances at this level, as the Young Lions won 3-1 against a team they will face in the group stages of next summer’s European Under-21 Championship finals in the Czech Republic.

Ings was afforded the biggest cheer when the two teams’ line-ups were read out to the east Lancashire crowd prior to kick-off and there was an added spring in his step from the off as he beat multiple men on a purposeful run in his first notable act.

He swept home Tom Ince’s sixth-minute cross and could have added another two before Carl Jenkinson doubled the hosts’ advantage just before the break.

Bernardo Silva pulled one back for Portugal just after the interval but the night would belong to Ings, who added a scrappy second when turning in the lively Nathan Redmond’s cross around the hour mark.

Asked about Ings netting on familiar soil, Southgate said: “I would have thought the odds were fairly short on that.

“I think his first contribution was to beat five men, knock it wide and then just miss out on the cross, so you sensed it might be a night for him to do well.

“He’s very proud to play for this football club and it’s a great moment for him to play in an England shirt here.

“What he does give us is real competition for places. We’ve got three strikers playing in the Premier League, which is a great position to be in, and they’re all slightly different.

“You need goals in your team, you can’t guarantee that everyone will be fit and ready for the summer. So the more we are able to bring others in and give them that experience the better.”

Last year’s Championship Player of the Year Ings was at the forefront of Burnley’s promotion push last term but, shorn of his usual strike-partner Sam Vokes, he has netted just once in the top flight for a struggling Clarets outfit.

However, Southgate believes the chance to rub shoulders with the game’s best will only enhance the 22-year-old’s game.

“I’ve got terrific belief in him from what he did last year,” added Southgate.

“I watched a lot of him at Burnley; he’s technically a better player than perhaps people sometimes realise.

“He will score goals because he’s a real threat in the box; he’s a big threat from crosses – low and high – and his mentality is that he wants to learn.

“Every time I’ve spoken to him about how this season’s going he’s talked about learning from the experiences, learning from playing against top defenders, learning from watching top strikers. As the season wears on it will only benefit him, definitely.”

The victory also gave Southgate’s men a psychological edge heading into next summer’s meeting with the Portuguese, who will be in their group along with Italy and Sweden.

While both team’s starting XIs may contain different faces, Southgate’s side were able to put one of Europe’s heavyweights to the sword.

“We made some mistakes and you can’t do it against a great team like England,” said Portugal boss Rui Jorge.

“The age of the players doesn’t explain the mistakes we did today.

“I think both teams will be different in the Euros. We won’t be the same.”

Published: Friday 14th November 2014 by The News Editor

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