Amid speculation over his future at Aston Villa, Danny Ings provided a timely reminder of why he can be an important part of Unai Emery’s plans.
The 30-year-old came off the bench to salvage a point for us against Wolves on Wednesday night, showing his class in front of goal to find the back of the net in front of the Holte End.
Further, he almost grabbed an assist deep into injury time too, but unfortunately Leon Bailey couldn’t find the finish to match the superb pass from Ings that put him in behind the Wolves defence.
Without going into the debate regarding him and Ollie Watkins and whether or not they can effectively play alongside each other on a consistent basis, or who should lead the line for us, the fact is that Ings is a key player in this Villa squad and with seven goals and an assist in 19 appearances in all competitions – just 10 of which were starts – he is a valuable weapon to have.
As per the Daily Mail’s Dominic King, Everton saw a loan offer rejected by Villa for Ings on Wednesday, but the suggestion in his tweet was that a permanent deal could be allowed with several clubs interested in him.
However, speaking after the Wolves game, Emery appeared to dismiss the idea of Ings leaving this month, as he noted that he intends on having him as part of his squad moving forward.
“I spoke with some players about the opportunity to leave but not with him [Ings],” Emery said, according to BirminghamLive. “Today I think the first player who leaves is Cameron Archer [on loan] but I didn’t speak to Danny about it. The idea is to keep him in the squad.”
Should Archer leave this month on loan, that would reduce our options up front, and so to allow Ings to leave too – unless a replacement has been lined up and is ready to come in – would seem like a very questionable and dangerous call.
With that in mind, Emery’s comments do offer reassurance, and he’ll surely be impressed with the impact Ings made in midweek, which will hopefully be rewarded with a starting berth when we host Stevenage in the FA Cup this weekend.
As with every player in the current squad, the Villa boss would have assessed each individual and made a decision on who fits into his plans and can adapt to his style of play and who won’t. He has spoken on different occasions about how there could be movement this month, both incoming and outgoing, and so it’s understandable that there is speculation.
Nevertheless, as he showed against Wolves, and as he has done previously, Ings offers us something different in the final third, and he scores goals. He might not be as prolific as he has been in the past, but he still knows how to find the back of the net and add his experience and character to the mix, it’s hoped that if Emery is convinced he’s an asset, his time with us isn’t coming to an end any time soon.
“It’s always nice to score in front of the Holte End,” he told Villa TV after the Wolves game. “For me, it’s about helping the team, whether I start or come on from the bench.
“I always give my all for the team and luckily it paid off tonight.”