England under-21 star Tom Ince may have snubbed a move to Anfield in favour of joining Crystal Palace in the January transfer window according to The Mirror, but rest assured Liverpool fans, that's not the last you'll be hearing from the talented winger.
Son of former England midfielder, Paul, Tom Ince was earmarked as a star of the future from an early age and began his career at Liverpool before moving to Blackpool in 2011, where he started living up to his hype and potential.
Two-and-a-half years, 113 appearances and 33 goals later, Ince has returned to the Premier League with Crystal Palace; though his father told Alex Richards of The Mirror that Tom's move to Selhurst Park is just a stepping-stone for a bigger club in the future—and Liverpool certainly fit that mould!
I don't think Thomas is ready to go to Liverpool yet. Brendan [Rodgers] has done very well there and he does play the kids but for his progression as a footballer it needed to be a Stoke City, a Swansea City, a Crystal Palace or a Hull City at this point. Maybe in two or three years' time, that [Liverpool] might be a move for him.
After failed attempts to sign wingers Mohamed Salah and Yevhen Konoplyanka in January, it's clear that Liverpool are aware of their shortcomings in midfield, and young Ince may well prove to be the answer to their problems.
What Liverpool lack over their Premier League rivals is squad depth, or rather, talented squad depth. In Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, the Reds have one of the most lethal strike partnerships in world football, but take them out of the picture, and where are the goals coming from?
The Reds' midfield have managed just 13 goals between them this season, with six of them coming from skipper Steven Gerrard. But in Ince, Liverpool would have a free-scoring midfielder who also has the ability to provide the telling pass before a goal—and not to mention, he's still only 22 years of age!
The Liverpool youth product has chalked up seven goals and five assists in the Championship with Blackpool this season, the kind of stats that Liverpool would love to attach to their current crop of midfielders.
With pace, skill and delicate finishing ability, Ince has all the credentials to become a domestic and international star of the future. Like we haven't read that sentence enough times...but there's one thing that separates Ince from other rising stars: He's been smart about his career.
We look at young stars of the past, players like Jack Rodwell, who have attempted to make the leap to the top of the Premier League tree too soon and simply come unstuck. Had Ince switched to Anfield in January, would he be given the necessary game time for his talent to progress? Probably not. Brendan Rogers has a settled squad at Anfield, and changing a winning formula isn't a policy that the Liverpool manager tends to adopt.
So, what was Liverpool's January loss will eventually be their gain. If young Ince can get some Premier League games under his belt with Palace before moving to Anfield, then who's to say why he can't prove to be as big a Reds star as his father?
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