Thomas Ince would have forever dreaded the pressure of being his father’s son as he grew up and realised he wanted to be a professional football player. After signing for Liverpool as a youth player in 2008 and playing for Notts County on loan in League One, he finally settled at Blackpool with a two year deal done and dusted in August 2011.
Since he became part of the Tangerine Army, Ince has been given regular playing time by Blackpool boss Ian Holloway. Holloway has a well established reputation in the professional game for not only showing faith in his youngsters but keeping that faith and giving them the time and space to develop.
We have reached a point where Paul Ince’s son is now the most valuable asset that Blackpool have and the unfortunate aspect of football is that this means teams are going to come calling in January. Holloway has acted quickly and smartly stating that Blackpool will not sell him cheaply and he is reportedly valued around the £5 million mark by the Lancashire club.
“I heard someone say this week that my brilliant youngster Tom Ince will be heading for the Premier League in January. And that might just happen if he maintains the incredible standards he has set in the first few weeks of the season, culminating in him winning his first England Under-21 cap during the week,” Holloway told the Blackpool Gazette website.
The fact that Ince is now considered an England Under-21 standard player means his game is only going to get better and his profile is going to continue to grow. Cast your minds back to all of the rumours and reports surrounding the future of Charlie Adam when he was a Blackpool player and you will get a very good idea of what’s going on at the club right now.
It’s a black and white case where Blackpool have two options. They can try and get Ince to stay and convince him that he will play Premier League football with the club next season. This is not unrealistic as Blackpool currently sit second in the Championship and Holloway has done all of this before.
The other option is to put a price on the head of one of England’s best young prospects and watch the Premier League sharks fight it out to see who can win a bidding war. As Holloway quite rightly points out, the figures paid for some players in the Premier League are now massive so why shouldn’t Blackpool hold out for top dollar?
“I’m not going to say how much interested clubs will have to come up with if they are to prise one of my best players away. But I did note that Liverpool have just paid £15m to Swansea for 22-year-old Joe Allen. My chairman showed in the way he dismissed below-market-value bids for Matt Phillips this summer that Blackpool won’t allow bigger clubs to take liberties with us,” added Holloway.
Let’s all be honest, we really miss Holloway in the Premier League and his entertaining Friday afternoon press conferences. What we miss more though is his complete realism when it comes to football and the way he will always stand up for his club when it comes to the players.