We now look at some news involving Huddersfield Town from the summer and the Tom Ince transfer. After a reasonably impressive season with Derby, Huddersfield moved for Ince as they looked to strengthen their squad for their first season in the Premiership. At the time the £8mil fee paid for Ince was a Huddersfield Town transfer record but as their summer business progressed they went on to break that record again for Steve Mounie (£11.5mil).
Ince has had somewhat of a nomadic career to date but is he finally ready for Premiership football? Where will he fit in at Huddersfield and how will team and player do this season? We take a closer look.
Nationality: 0 caps (18 U21 caps 3 goals)
Position: wide attacking midfielder, can play central or wide midfield.
Transfer Fee: £8mil
Contract Length: 3 years (Huddersfield have option to extent)
2016/17 League Stats: 41 starts (4 sub appearances) 14 goals (6 assists) – in Championship
2017/18 League Stats: 11 starts (0 sub appearances) 0 goals (0 assists)
It’s amazing that Tom Ince is still only 25 years old, considering the number of clubs he has already played for. It’s fair to say though that his most notable spells have been at Blackpool and until just recently, Derby.
In the 5 and a half seasons he spent at Derby and Blackpool he has scored 69 Championship goals and it was his spell at Blackpool in particular which brought him to the fore and earned him a reputation as a very good Championship player.
After a year or so of struggling for consistency and regular football, Ince joined Derby where he managed to re-established himself in the Championship again after flirting with Premiership football at Crystal Palace and Hull City. Ince didn’t really convince when given the opportunity to play at the highest level and would probably admit himself it came too early.
Considering his performances for Derby, particularly at the start of his time at Pride Park, a return to the Premiership at some stage for Ince, had an air of inevitability. If anything I’m slightly surprised by the timing of Ince’s recent departure though.
Ince made a huge impact when he first joined Derby, the second half of the 2014/15 season, netting 11 times in 18 league starts. Arguably then or the season after, in which he consolidated his status with 12 goals in 38 starts, would have been a more understandable time to attempt the step up again. Last season his productivity stalled, netting 14 goals in 41 starts. Not that impressive in my opinion or necessarily worthy of earning a move to the Premiership.
However as this is Huddersfield’s first season in the Premiership I have a strong suspicion that their options and scouting knowledge was somewhat limited for Premiership football. The promotion David Wagner delivered was largely unexpected. So I can understand the need to stick to a market they know very well, the Championship’s.
In that respect there probably weren’t many better options than Ince available or known to Huddersfield.
So far this season Ince has started every game for Huddersfield. Their options are limited all over the pitch but particularly in attacking areas. There’s also a lack of quality. So it’s therefore not surprising that they’ve struggled to create a host of chances, let alone score.
Ince, like most of his team mates, has struggled to make an impact on games and this is shown no clearer than by his lack of goals and assists so far this season. It’s not for a want of trying however, Ince has taken more shots than anyone else in the league so far.
Huddersfield’s underdog status, less possession as well as an all round lack of quality in the final third has all played its part in the team’s and Ince’s difficulties.
- Technically Ince doesn’t lack.
- He has very good dribbling and finishing ability.
- Whilst his technique, crossing and passing is also at a good level.
- The only technical aspect which needs improvement is his first touch.
- Ince possesses good speed and balance to compliment his dribbling ability.
- He even has decent composure and movement.
- Unfortunately however his decision making is suspect at times and he still lacks consistency.
- Defensively he could contribute a lot more too and improve his work rate.
The raw materials are there though for a very good player, more than capable of playing in the Premier League.
Ince has been largely used left or centre attacking midfield for Huddersfield this season and is clearly one of the first names on the team sheet due to a lack of competition.
- Rajiv Van La Parra has been used a lot in attacking midfield too and surprisingly, out of all of Wagner’s natural attacking options, has probably impressed most despite having the least impact back in the Championship.
- Elias Kachunga has struggled to make an impact much like Ince this season despite impressing as Huddersfield got promoted.
- Without doubt Huddersfield’s best player this season has been Aaron Mooy and he has featured in a more advanced position at times his season although predominantly he plays deeper in centre midfield.
Wagner is going to have to make do with limited options, by Premiership standards, at least until January although I’m still not sure if Huddersfield will be capable of strengthening their team much more this season. Financially they have invested a lot already whilst I’m still not convinced they are an attractive enough proposition right now to the kind of players they need.
Huddersfield’s start to the season hasn’t been bad but the lack of goals and chances created has been concerning. They are going to need more from their attacking players, Ince included.
Ince has many good qualities but at 25 years of age he really needs to start fulfilling some of that potential he promised at Liverpool’s academy and later earned him the links to some big clubs, across Europe as well as England.
He needs to start producing and on a consistent basis and so too do a lot of his team mates if Huddersfield are going to avoid relegation. It’s going to be a close call but I can see them getting relegated this season and that would be a huge shame for Ince.
We do need to remember that this is still Ince’s first real shot at the Premiership. He’s never played this many games or had such a run at this level as he is currently, so some adapting is to be appreciated. Maybe with a season’s experience under his belt he could kick on? We may never know if Huddersfield drop down though.
This could be a pivotal season in his career.
Ince can still become a good Premiership player but for now he’s still just a good Championship player.