DANNY Ings declared his first year with Burnley the toughest of his life. But having put a double injury nightmare behind him he is looking forward to a bright future at Turf Moor.
The talented forward made his first start of the season in Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with Watford, after a double suspension prompted a shake-up.
It was a significant step for Ings, who has been knocking of the door of the first team since reporting back to full training in October.
“It felt fantastic to be back,” said the 20-year-old, who underwent knee surgery in the summer almost exactly 12 months after an operation on his opposite knee to repair cartilage damage.
“I’ve worked extremely hard to get back to being fully fit. It’s been a tough year for me with both my knees being operated on but I’m there to be selected now and it’s fantastic.”
Injury isn’t the only obstacle the former Bournemouth youngster has had to overcome this season.
Having been central to Eddie Howe’s plans in the summer before disaster struck in the final friendly at Rochdale, his return to fitness coincided with his boss returning to Bournemouth and the appointment of Sean Dyche at Burnley.
Ings is mindful that a one-match ban for midfielder Chris McCann, along with defender Michael Duff, was a factor in his inclusion in the line-up to face Watford on Saturday.
But having found his way into the new manager’s XI, following some impressive substitute appearances, he is planning to fight hard for his shirt.
“There’s no better feeling than being back on the pitch. I enjoyed every second of it,” he said.
“I’ve had the toughest year of my life but I’m back now, I’m fully fit touch wood and I’m building on something.
“A lot of people after having two operations could bow down and fade away but I’m not that type of person.
“Every day I’m the first one in and last one out of the training ground, I work extremely hard to get to where I am. I’m fully fit now but that’s not it for me, I’m going to work hard and get stronger every day.”
He added: “The suspensions opened places up. There were a few players the staff could have chosen from but I was grateful that the manager gave me the chance.
“It’s been frustrating being fit and not being in the team. But I couldn’t ask for a better set of team-mates, they are pushing me through and I’m grateful that I’ve got them.
“It was good to be back in the team and hopefully I took that chance and I can stay there.
“I’ll work the same as I have done every week and hopefully be selected again.
“I just want to be selected as much as I can and do well for the team.”