Paul Ince has revealed his son Tom turned down the chance to return to Liverpool in January, opting instead for Crystal Palace, and it seems a very smart move.
Reports yesterday revealed that Tom Ince rejected the chance to return to Liverpool last month, in favour of a loan move to Crystal Palace.
In quotes published in the Mirror, his father Paul said, “Liverpool were in but I don’t think Thomas is ready to go to Liverpool yet.
“Maybe in two or three years’ time that might be a move for him.”
It is an admirable and intelligent career plan – to grow as a player and take small steps, building up to the bigger clubs (despite the fact that he was previously on the Reds’ books).
But there is another potential reason for snubbing a return to Anfield – or a move to any big club for that matter. In fact there are two potential reasons.
The first is that next summer Ince will be a free-agent. Once the current campaign is out the way, if he has excelled in the top flight for Palace, Ince is likely to have even more suitors than he has currently.
The decision to move to Selhurst Park was smart because he will still almost certainly feature whenever he is fit. There is no risk involved in terms of playing-time. And yet he is joining a club riding the crest of a wave following the arrival of Tony Pulis. That in itself should not be underestimated when a player moves mid-season.
And then there is the prospect of an unexpected but hoped-for call – from one Roy Hodgson in the build-up to the World Cup.
At Palace, Ince will be given the freedom to do what he is best at from day one. They need more goals and hopefully he will be the one to both score and inspire them.
He will be able to perform on the biggest stages but not risk his starting-berth as a result, and in so doing, he will be in full view of the man who decides who will go to Brazil next summer.
It is a big ask, but it is more likely than if he had gone to Anfield, where a place in the first XI is that much harder to come by.
In short, Ince did the smart thing. He saw a club on the rise, with a manager who can do no wrong at the moment, and the chance to showcase his talents in the top flight without any risk.
As for what he does next season, who knows? But he will be hoping he can decide that while basking in the afterglow of being part of football’s greatest competition.
image: © Egghead06