At the moment, numbers 7, 8, 9 and 11 are all free, but Liverpool signing Danny Ings has decided to pick one that won’t cause him extra pressure, reports the Mirror.
Our second summer signing, who will arrive on July 1st after a tribunal sets his compensatory transfer fee from Burnley, will wear the no.28 for us during the 2015/16 campaign.
“I stayed away from the low shirt numbers! You have got to take that pressure off yourself as a young lad coming through. That is what I personally think,” began the 22-year-old England Under-21 international, currently away at the Euros.
“I would make sure I am established before taking any of those [iconic] numbers. It is such a huge club. That was the thinking behind it.
“I wouldn’t want to go to Liverpool and chuck a shirt on my back like that… it is pressure you don’t need. The expectation at clubs like that is huge.
“Obviously I am going to work my socks off to earn that number one day. For now I will take a high number and work hard.
“I’ve worked my way from the bottom so it is even more special for me.
“I knew about my contract situation at the start of the season. I had a big decision to make whether to sign a new contract or not.
“I sat down with my family and agent and we came up with I was going to hold out. I had quite a strong season (11 goals), but obviously we went down and I was gutted.
“But I thought I did enough to get myself a good move and the next step and another challenge. It is a challenge I am really looking forward to and I can’t wait to get going.”
When Ings arrives on Merseyside, he’ll have to compete with a hopefully fit Daniel Sturridge for a starting spot – but there is no concrete word on the futures of Mario Balotelli, Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini – who all endured miserable campaigns last time out. But Ings has praised them anyway, and says he’s happy to play in different positions as a result of the likely competition there’ll be for places at Anfield.
“The strikers at Liverpool are fantastic. The way I looked at it, I will get a lot more game time playing in different positions learning my trade as a young professional, and I think he is the right manager for that.
“I have been playing one position for a few years as a main striker. I can play in a number of positions, on the left, as a No10, or off the right like today.
“As soon as I knew he was interested it was a no-brainer and it was best for me to join Liverpool.”
The quotes go some of the way in explaining just how screwed on Ings’ head is, and just how motivated he is to do well for us. The fact he’s worked his way up through the lower leagues shows how much this transfer means to him – but as Lambert showed – heart and guts sadly don’t always make up for a lack of blistering quality.
Ings has time to prove he’s got both, of course. Let’s hope he knuckles down during pre-season and takes the wonderful chance presented to him with both hands.