TOM INCE admits it hasn’t been easy adapting to a whole new style of football at Blackpool – but he’s had no shortage of advice and encouragement from his two ‘gaffers’.
Tom’s dad Paul (below), the former England captain and Blackburn manager, is following the 19-year-old’s career very closely and would spend as much time at Bloomfield Road as Ian Holloway, if his son would let him.
Ince junior revealed that his father, a fellow former Liverpool midfielder, even wanted to attend Tuesday’s training match between all the squad members not away on international duty.
Tom said: “Dad is always analysing my game and he wants to come to every game.
“He even wanted to come on Tuesday but I said, ‘dad, it’s just a game between ourselves. It’s a training session’.
“He still wanted to watch, but I told him just to come to the games on Saturdays.
“He has been pleased with my performances, and as long as I keep getting my first-team chances, I’m sure he will be here to watch.”
Ian Holloway has been impressed too, granting the attacking midfielder his full Championship debut at Portsmouth a fortnight ago and allowing him to make an impact off the bench in the 5-0 victory over Bristol City at Bloomfield Road last Saturday.
Ince says he took plenty of confidence from both matches and hopes they herald more regular involvement in the senior squad.
He said: “I have enjoyed being in and around the first team, which is where I need to be at my age.
“From the first day, I could see a bright future here.
“There are a lot of good players, so you have to wait for your chance.
“But I was thrown in against Portsmouth and did relatively okay. There’s a lot to build on from that.
“I didn’t feel scared and if I keep getting my chances, then hopefully I’ll keep performing and show the Blackpool fans what I’m about.
“I enjoyed coming on against Bristol City and doing well.
“The game was getting a bit dead and the gaffer wanted some fresh legs.
“I got a couple of assists and it was a 5-0 win, which had been coming for a lot of weeks. We needed that to boost our confidence even more.
“We knew we had it in us to do that.
“It was unfortunate for Bristol City that it was them, but we try to score as many goals as we can whoever we face because we have great attacking options here.
“I knew from watching Blackpool in the Premier League that they play attacking football with wide players, which suited me down to the ground.”
But however well matched player and club may be, Ince admits the system took a little getting used to.
He said: “The gaffer told me straight away how he wanted me to play to get the best out of me, and I think I’ve adapted to it.
“It’s a difficult system, but once you get used to it it can be very effective.
“We can destroy teams with it with the personnel we have, as you saw on Saturday.
“I’ve got a lot of confidence from the gaffer and the players. There’s a great team spirit here.”