Fairy tales do happen in football. No, we are not going to discuss the Leicester City fairytale. This one is not as high profile as the title-winning Leicester City, but this one was a life-saver for Southampton and Ralph Hasenhüttl. A hero who was released by the club as a schoolboy, returning to save the club from relegation. He has scored goals freely and is well in contention for the golden boot this season. We are talking about Danny Ings, the savior at the St Mary’s.
The Hampshire born forward made his big move to Liverpool, on June 8th, 2015. Everybody expected things to go pretty smoothly, but it was not the Ings would have anticipated. Even though the start was promising, injuries hampered his Liverpool career, and he couldn’t make much of an impact at Anfield. Everybody loved him in the dressing room but had to leave, to resurrect his career. Liverpool did one favor in return to Southampton, and as it seems, it saved them from relegation.
The revival of Danny Ings
In Liverpool, he could never pin down a starting berth due to his recurring injuries and partly due to the form of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, and Mo Salah. It was no surprise that he asked Klopp permission to leave, to which Klopp agreed. For the Reds, it was just a fringe player leaving, but for the Saints, it was a breath of fresh air or a revival. The £20m spent by Southampton did feel like a risk for a player with a history of recurring injuries. Not Anymore!
The former Liverpool forward has singlehandedly saved Southampton from relegation. He has contributed to almost 50% of the goals scored by the Saints this season. The narrative at the beginning of the season was entirely different. A thrashing of 9-0 at the hands of Leicester City was certainly not a positive sign. They looked doomed for relegation, and their manager Ralph Hasenhüttl seemed destined for the sack.
Now Southampton is in a safe zone with a mid-table finish almost guaranteed. Danny Ings’ 18 goals and two assists had a prominent role in that. He is averaging 0.56 goals per game, by boasting a shooting accuracy of 42%. At the moment, he is third in the chase for the golden boot. Not bad for the striker of a team who is relinquishing in the second half of the table, is it?
When Ings arrived at St Mary’s, they had numerous forwards competing for the spot. They had the likes of Charlie Austin, Manolo Gabbiadini, Shane Long, and Jay Rodgriguez. The seven-goal return in the initial loan tenure convinced the board to make Ings a permanent signing. Undoubtedly, a decision that saved them from the drop.
Danny Ings’ career could have been a lot different if it wasn’t for his injuries. Even though it is a little bit late, the footballing world is finally witnessing his true potential. At 27, he is still in his prime, and he can offer a lot to Southampton. He dreams of leaving a legacy at the St Mary’s, and if he keeps up this form, he certainly will.