Tonight's edition of SAINTS, to mark the visit of Brighton under the lights at St Mary's, features the following feature-length interview with in-form striker Danny Ings...
When Southampton swooped to secure the signature of Danny Ings on transfer deadline day, the club reconnected the player with his childhood.
A high-profile capture from Liverpool, where his career hit such peaks and troughs the striker was left mentally drained by the end of it all, Ings sought pastures new with a nostalgic twist.
He left behind his life in the North West – his home of seven years where he developed a level of independence that turned boy to man and where his career took off, starting with a prolific spell at Burnley that earned himself a shot at Anfield.
Ings needed to feel loved, and not just by his close-knit family and school friends with whom he could reminisce over old times.
He craved the responsibility of being the main man again. Of feeling needed, and relied on by his team to deliver when they need a goal most.
Coming home ticked all the boxes.
Such has been the emotional roller coaster of his recent past, Ings seems in his element in the soothing surrounds of the Solent, watching the rippling current disappear into the distance.
He shares a passion for boats with his father – the biggest influence on his football career who would take his son out on the water when a young Danny wasn’t having a kickabout with his mates in Netley.
“My dad’s always been into his fishing,” reveals Saints’ proud new number nine. “He’d take me out on the Solent when I was younger on his boat that was falling to pieces!
“Over the last couple of years, once I was in a position to improve his boat, we replaced it for a nice one.
“Now that I’m down here, I’ll be able to go out on it a lot more. I haven’t lived here for a long time, so I’m looking forward to that.”
This is just a small snippet of the full ten-page interview, in which Ings also opens up about:
- His release from Saints as a ten-year-old boy
- His upbringing in local amateur football in Southampton
- The journey up through the divisions to reach the Premier League and the international stage
- His character as a self-confessed perfectionist, and his own harshest critic
- Charity exploits and his desire to help his hometown community
- His clothing printing company and his ambitions to explore business away from football
- Going from the highest point in his career, playing for England, to the lowest point, as his knee problems started
- The doubts he had over whether he would ever play football again
- The pain at being left out of Liverpool's Champions League final squad in May
- Why joining Saints "feels different" to previous moves
- Why it's important to him to feel like a big player for a team again
- The possibility of a second England call-up in the future
- His bet with Mo Salah - who will score more goals this season?
Don’t forget you can pick up your copy of SAINTS from St Mary’s tonight, or online at saintsprogrammes.co.uk.