Danny Ings‘ move to Liverpool is an “unbelievable dream come true” but the striker knows he has a lot to prove, which is why he would not dream of wearing a number made famous by true Anfield greats.
An impressive maiden top-flight season with Burnley has led to the 22-year-old to agree a move to Merseyside at the end of his contract on July 1, continuing a remarkable ascent which started on the south coast.
A graduate of the Bournemouth youth system, Ings spent part of the 2010/11 season on loan in the Conference South with Dorchester Town before returning to the Cherries and then moving on to Turf Moor.
That rise makes the striker’s move to Liverpool all the “more special” and he cannot wait to link-up with Brendan Rodgers’ side.
“Of course it is a boost being a Liverpool player,” he said. “I can’t wait to get started.
“To work with Brendan Rodgers and the players at Liverpool is an unbelievable dream come true for me, really.
“I can play in a number of positions, on the left, as a number 10, or off the right. The strikers at Liverpool are fantastic and there will be competition.
“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.
“He is good with young players and as soon as I knew he was interested it was a no-brainer and it was best for me to join Liverpool.”
Ings is looking forward to the new challenge that awaits at Anfield, where he will wear the number 28 jersey next season.
He wore 10 at Burnley last term but that number is occupied by the impressive Philippe Coutinho – not that the forward believes he would deserve it yet anyway.
Ings believes such numbers at clubs like Liverpool are a reward for proven players, which is why he would never dream of taking the number eight vacated by Steven Gerrard or the available seven worn by the likes of Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish and Luis Suarez.
“I stayed away from the low numbers,” Ings said. “You have got to take that pressure off yourself as a young lad coming through. That is what I personally think.
“I would make sure I am established before taking any of those numbers,” he continued. “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.”
Ings is currently away with England at the Under-21 European Championship and Liverpool are planning to give him a three-week break following its culmination.
The forward is well aware of the need for a break, but admits he may find it tough to take the full three weeks such is his desire to impress.
“I will be raring to go so I will probably only have two and join up with them on tour because I don’t want to be playing catch-up,” Ings said. “I would prefer to be around the squad and ready to go for the start of the season.”
There is renewed hope that England could yet make it all the way to the Prague finale following a spirited, if somewhat fortuitous, win against Sweden.
The dry Olomouc pitch made it tough for the Young Lions to break down the Scandinavians, but substitute Jesse Lingard’s strike five minutes from the end was enough to secure a 1-0 win.
Gareth Southgate’s other changes also made an impact at the Ander Stadium, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek impressing in midfield and Ings proving a nuisance behind Harry Kane.
The Liverpool new boy’s performance as a half-time replacement only strengthens his chances of starting Wednesday’s crunch tie with Italy, but the forward is not getting worked up by his bench role.
“You’ve got to put the frustration to one side, really,” Ings said. “You have got to respect who the manager picks and his team and be ready when called upon. I thought I did that (against Sweden).
“I just made sure that I was ready for when he was ready to put me on and hopefully I made a difference.”