Danny Ings feels he must earn right to wear iconic Liverpool shirt number

Transfer fee taking him from Turf Moor to Anfield has yet to be finalised, with Liverpool expecting to pay between £5m-6m

Danny Ings is wary of taking a historically significant Liverpool shirt number and insists he must earn the right to wear one of those worn by Anfield greats over the years.

Ings, part of the England Under-21 squad who are playing in the European Championship in the Czech Republic, will wear the number 28 shirt when he joins from Burnley on July 1st, in part because of the pressure of stepping into the shoes of Steven Gerrard et al.

“I stayed away from the low numbers,” the 22-year-old said of his selection. “You have got to take that pressure off yourself as a young lad coming through. That is what I personally think.”

The number seven shirt worn by Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish, Peter Beardsley and Luis Suarez and the nine shirt that Ian St John, Ian Rush and Robbie Fowler have donned are traditionally the Liverpool numbers most associated with the weight of history. Gerrard's career means the number eight has added significance and his departure to LA Galaxy means his number, in addition to the number seven vacated by Suarez last summer, is now available.

Ings, though, who wore the 10 with Burnley, has no interest in taking either yet. “I would make sure I am established before taking any of those numbers,” he said. “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.”

The transfer fee taking him from Turf Moor to Anfield has yet to be finalised, with Liverpool expecting to pay between £5m-£6million and Burnley holding out for something closer to £10 million . An independent tribunal will decide on the price if the clubs cannot come to an arrangement.


The disagreement means the move will be slightly more protracted than it could have been. For Ings, though, the potential for a change of scene has been long in the pipeline, beginning with his decision not to sign a new contract at Burnley last summer.

“I knew about my contract situation at the start of the season,” he said. “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, 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. I can’t wait to get going.”

Ings has twice impressed as a substitute for England in the Under-21 Championship and could have done enough to force himself into Gareth Southgate's plans for their make-or-break final group game against Italy tomorrow. Southgate's side play with a lone striker in the shape of Harry Kane and thus far Tom Carroll and Will Hughes have been preferred in the starting XI in the role just behind the Tottenham striker.

Ings would perhaps offer a more attacking option at No10 but he is happy to wait for his chance. “That is the competition you want for any side, club or country,” he said.

“You need that competition to push each other along to perform better. We did that against Sweden. Everyone came on and made an impact. That is what the manager needs. You can’t have players come on and not make the impact because the game will slowly slip away from you. It is important you are ready.”

Southgate's three substitutes against Sweden did indeed help turn the tide, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Jesse Lingard also impressing. The latter's 85th-minute winner means England go into their final game in the same Andruv Stadium in Olomouc knowing a win will to take them through to the semi-finals for the first time since 2009. A draw may be enough but it would leave them relying on Sweden failing to beat Portugal, which kicks off simultaneously. Meanwhile, Bertrand Traore will have an opportunity to prove he merits a place in Chelsea's first-team squad when he travels with the senior party on their tour of the United States next month after the Burkina Faso teenager was granted a work permit to play in England.

The winger turned centre-forward who first alerted Chelsea's scouts to his talents as a 14-year-old at the Under-17 World Cup in 2009 while he was still being developed by the French club Auxerre, officially signed professional terms on a four-and-a-half-year contract with the Premier League champions in January 2014.

However, he was unable to feature competitively having not played the requisite number of games for his country to qualify for international clearance.

The 19-year-old has spent the past 18 months on loan at Vitesse Arnhem, impressing consistently last season when he scored 17 goals in all competitions to help them finish fifth and win the play-offs for a Europa League place.

His regular involvement with Burkina Faso, including in the Africa Cup of Nations this year, saw Chelsea reapply for a permit, with Vitesse having confirmed his parent club had always intended to bring him back to England. "Jose Mourinho is crazy about him. If the opportunity is there, they'd prefer to take him back," said the Vitesse manager Peter Bosz.

Chelsea will include Traore in the squad travelling to the US on July 15th for games against New York Red Bulls, Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona, with Mourinho hopeful the forward demonstrates similar form to that which illuminated the tour of the Far East two years ago.

While the club have already fielded inquiries to take the player on another 12-month loan, the manager‘s instinct is to retain Traore within the first-team set-up, potentially as a fourth-choice striker or wide option in midfield, despite the fact the player would not qualify as “home-grown“ having spent his recent career in the Netherlands.

Chelsea, who will confirm the loan arrival of Radamel Falcao after the Copa America, may yet be without Loic Remy next season and while further additions are anticipated in the transfer window, Traore would offer versatility up front.

Guardian Service