KEVIN Phillips has one piece of advice for Tom Ince – stay at Blackpool.
The veteran striker has seen just about everything during his 18 years in football, including players who have made big-money moves too early.
Ince is being linked with a number of top clubs ahead of next month’s transfer window, with Liverpool leading the race.
But Phillips thinks the 20-year-old would be much better saying at Bloomfield Road, at least until the end of the season.
He said: “You have to remember that Tom has only been playing at a good level for the last year.
“He was exceptional from Christmas onwards last season, and has started off the same way again.
“If I was giving him advice, I’d tell him to stay at Blackpool.
“I think he should stay here and learn his trade, and if he continues producing the goods like he has he’ll get his big move in the summer.”
Ince finds himself in a similar position to that of Charlie Adam at Bloomfield Road two years ago.
He had a number of clubs chasing him in January but chose to see the season out and ended up with a bigger move to Liverpool in the summer.
And that’s exactly what Phillips thinks England U21 international Ince should do.
He added: “From our chairman’s point of view, it would be hard to turn down someone offering silly money. But from a footballing point of view, Tom would probably benefit more from staying here for the rest of the season.
“But his dad (former England captain Paul) is going to give him great advice.”
Phillips looks set to be among the substitutes again for tomorrow’s home clash with Wolves.
The 39-year-old has played 15 times for the Seasiders this season. Seven of those have been from the bench, though Phillips realises that’s something he must accept at this stage of his career.
“I started the first two games under the new manager and have been sub for the past few,” he added.
“I’ve got used to being sub in my Blackpool career, but it’s a long old season.
“You need a big squad in this league and that’s what we’ve got here. I’m pretty sure I’ll get more minutes as the season goes on.
“I have to keep myself fit, and if I’m called upon I won’t be letting anyone down.”
With four games in the next 12 days, Pool boss Michael Appleton will need his full squad available and fit.
And Phillips says he’s ready to play when needed. “Obviously I can’t play all the games over Christmas, but I’ll at least be able to play a couple of them,” he said.
“I showed that when the manager first arrived and I played Saturday-Tuesday.
“I’m pretty sure he will need the whole squad over the Christmas period as the games come so thick and fast.”