Top tier athletics is an incredibly competitive profession. One minute, you’re firing on all cylinders and unimpeachable from the starting eleven. The next, you’ve lost your spot and are on the outside looking in. Unforgiving and ephemeral, and with stakes impossibly high, it is not a career-path that one might consider exactly designed for those with minds that tend towards pessimism and cynicism (all Jose Mourinho’s present excluded).
The struggle to remain positive and physically & mentally ready to perform at a minutes notice, is a tough one. But if you were to take Danny Ings’ word for it, it’s just par for the course:
“After being out for a long period of time, it’s hard for players to maintain the levels of quality and try to keep up with the team. A few months ago I felt like I was quite a way off the first team due to my injuries and coming back and it taking time – which is totally normal with knees.
“But I watch and learn, especially from our front three; they are just exceptional with their movement, timing and quality on the ball. Even if I’m not playing with them, I can watch them and learn.
“That’s what I tried to do for the period that I was off. Now that I’m back and I’m in the best physical shape I can possibly be in, I give it everything every single day. Everybody knows that. That’s what I’ll keep doing – I’ll keep pushing.”
Danny’s irrepressible workrate precedes him and feels like it is a physical manifestation of a clearly irrepressible spirit. None of this, then, is a surprise as Ings has become one of the (admittedly, among many on this current squad) fan favorites with his plucky personality and gritty playing style. Seeing him make the pitch in a position currently held by Roberto Firmino and with each of Mané and Salah showing the tools to potentially spell Bobby on rotation is clearly a tall ask. But if anyone is well-suited for grinding out the training sessions and showing up when called, it’s Danny Ings.
And as he clearly is still enjoying his football - and with Liverpool’s squad spirit seemingly at an all-time high this season - there’s no reason to doubt that he may just claim that spot. There’s still quite a lot of good and important football left to play. Here’s hoping that Ings is able to make a few nice memories for himself and the squad before the season is over.