ENGLAND Under 21 boss Gareth Southgate has praised Burnley ace Danny Ings for his breakthrough season.

The 26-goal top scorer’s summer holiday was delayed by international duty as he was picked to earn his fourth cap after helping to fire the Clarets into the Premier League.

The 21-year-old started against Wales on Monday night in their UEFA Under 21 Championship qualifier with Wales U21s and England took another step towards next summer’s tournament with a 3-1 win at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium, courtesy of Norwich winger Nathan Redmond’s hat-trick.

And Ings, who scored twice in a 9-0 win over San Marino in only his second Under 21s appearance in November, has been congratulated for his contribution to club and country.

“I must pay tribute to Danny Ings, who’s had an excellent season,” said Southgate, who is now preparing his squad for the Toulon tournament but will not be able to call upon the Clarets star because he is one of four who are too old for selection.

Ings will, however, be eligible for the Under 21 Euro qualifiers when fixtures resume in September, despite turning 22 next month, because of his involvement in earlier stages.

And Southgate, who has been in charge of the U21s for almost a year, and was the man to offer Ings his international debut, believes the forward is part of a Three Lions squad on the right track.

“I’m really pleased with the way that we passed the ball and the creativity that we’ve shown,” he said after the Wales win.

“From the very start of the game we played with freedom and I think we’ve expressed ourselves and created any number of chances.

“I felt towards the end, we might have seen the game out a bit better and we just need to learn a couple of things in terms of dealing with the counter attack.

“But I’m being harsh there because what this group of players has given all season has been outstanding.”