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Meeting Roy was 'crazy', says Ings
“CRAZY” was the adjective used by Danny Ings to describe his encounter with Roy Hodgson.
On the day of the new under 21 international’s first training session he had a meet and greet with the England manager at St George’s Park.
“He spoke to all of us, he came over and shook all of our hands and he wished me all the best, being there with the set-up,” he said.
“It was a really good moment for me because obviously he’s manager of our country.
You get the impression events of the last two weeks are still sinking in for the Clarets’ top scorer.
Two years ago his only goal was to play for the first team, after injury wrecked the start of the striker’s Turf Moor career.
It reared its ugly head 12 months later, but Ings never gave up.
Now he is reaping the rewards of years of hard work. Twenty one years in fact.
“My dad had me kicking a football before I could even walk!,” smiled Ings. “He used to just hold me in mid-air and I used to just kick the ball.
“Every chance we got we used to get the football out and play.
“Every single night that’s all we ever used to do, and that’s made me the player I am today.”
Like ex-Burnley team-mate Jay Rodriguez, whose dad Kiko was a non-league legend, Ings’ father Shayne trod a similar footballing path in the Wessex League.
A bricklayer by trade, he laid the foundations for his son’s future career.
“He didn’t play higher than non-league level, but he loved the game and played vets football,” Ings said. “I used to play football on the sidelines while watching him when I was little.
“He wasn’t a striker, he was more of a right back but sometimes he’d play on the wing if he got a bit confident. But he wasn’t any good.
“He’s a good guy though. He works hard. He’s a hard grafter.”
Those ethics have clearly rubbed off on Ings junior when it comes to his own professional career.
“As a father he’s very proud that I’ve played for the under 21s,” he added.
“It’s a dream come true for me and I know it was certainly my dad’s dream as well.
“I want to do it all for him really because he put the hard work in as well.”
Work commitments unfortunately prevented Shayne from witnessing Ings’ debut in San Marino.
But now that he has overcome the nerves of his first call-up, the former Bournemouth youngster hopes there will be plenty more opportunities to see him wear the Three Lions.
“I was a little bit nervous when I first turned up, meeting the lads and stuff, but to be fair they helped me settle in really well and so did the manager. From then on it was all fine,” he said.
“It was similar to a first day at school, but I was quite naughty at school, I wasn’t naughty there!
“I knew a couple of them from playing against them but that was it really, they made me feel settled straight away and I got to know them quickly.”
Ings admitted it was a boost to be in the same company as Premier League protégés as Wilfried Zaha, Raheem Sterling and Ravel Morrison, but added: “It’s really good but to be honest I look at them and think, ‘I want to do better than you and push myself further than you and become a better player’. And that’s what I’ll strive for every day.”
While his call-up has sparked ambitions to make the senior grade, Brazil 2014 might come too soon.
“That would be amazing! But we have to stay realistic here,” he said.
“You never know, but obviously all I can do is my best every day to become a better player.”
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