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Inter Milan vs AC Milan: What time is Derby della Madonnina, what TV channel is it on and what's our prediction?

What is it? The Milan derby, pitting Inter against AC at their shared San Siro home. Inter are nominally the 'home' team for this game. When is it? It's today, so Sunday October 15. What time is kick-off? 7.45pm UK time. What TV channel is it on? BT Sport 1. If you don't have BT, Rob Bagchi will be here on Sunday with live updates on this page. What is the team news, who is injured and suspended? Inter Marcelo Brozovic picked up an injury during the international break and will sit this game out. Inter have no other absentees. Brozovic got injured while away with Croatia Credit: EPA AC Milan Turkish playmaker Hakan Calhanoglu misses out through suspension, while Andrea Conti and Luca Antonelli both remain absent with injury. What does the table look like?  Inter are flying high in second, with six wins and a draw from seven so far. AC are seventh with 12 points after consecutive 2-0 losses to Sampdoria and Roma.  What are the odds? Inter - 11/10 Draw - 5/2 AC Milan - 23/10 Best-priced accumulators | New customer offers What's our prediction? Inter are in red hot form and will be confident of extending their winning run to three matches. Inter 3-1 AC Milan

Inter Milan vs AC Milan: What time is Derby della Madonnina, what TV channel is it on and what's our prediction?

What is it? The Milan derby, pitting Inter against AC at their shared San Siro home. Inter are nominally the 'home' team for this game. When is it? It's today, so Sunday October 15. What time is kick-off? 7.45pm UK time. What TV channel is it on? BT Sport 1. If you don't have BT, Rob Bagchi will be here on Sunday with live updates on this page. What is the team news, who is injured and suspended? Inter Marcelo Brozovic picked up an injury during the international break and will sit this game out. Inter have no other absentees. Brozovic got injured while away with Croatia Credit: EPA AC Milan Turkish playmaker Hakan Calhanoglu misses out through suspension, while Andrea Conti and Luca Antonelli both remain absent with injury. What does the table look like?  Inter are flying high in second, with six wins and a draw from seven so far. AC are seventh with 12 points after consecutive 2-0 losses to Sampdoria and Roma.  What are the odds? Inter - 11/10 Draw - 5/2 AC Milan - 23/10 Best-priced accumulators | New customer offers What's our prediction? Inter are in red hot form and will be confident of extending their winning run to three matches. Inter 3-1 AC Milan

Inter Milan vs AC Milan: What time is Derby della Madonnina, what TV channel is it on and what's our prediction?

Inter Milan vs AC Milan: What time is Derby della Madonnina, what TV channel is it on and what's our prediction?

Inter Milan vs AC Milan: What time is Derby della Madonnina, what TV channel is it on and what's our prediction?

Inter Milan vs AC Milan: What time is Derby della Madonnina, what TV channel is it on and what's our prediction?

Spalletti challenges Inter to go beyond limitations in Milan derby

Spalletti challenges Inter to go beyond limitations in Milan derby

Spalletti challenges Inter to go beyond limitations in Milan derby

Inter must go to new depths to beat AC Milan in the derby, says Luciano Spalletti.

SERIE A: Seven-point gap between Milan and Inter not a fair reflection for Montella

Seven-point gap between Milan and Inter not a fair reflection for Montella

Inter are the form side heading into the derby, but AC Milan coach Vincenzo Montella says there is not a huge gulf between the teams.

SERIE A: Seven-point gap between Milan and Inter not a fair reflection for Montella

Biglia backs Suso to be Milan derby's Messi

The Argentine saw the Barcelona forward come to the aid of his country this week and is looking for similar inspiration when AC Milan face Inter

Biglia backs Suso to be Milan derby's Messi

The Argentine saw the Barcelona forward come to the aid of his country this week and is looking for similar inspiration when AC Milan face Inter

Biglia backs Suso to be Milan derby's Messi

Lucas Biglia watched Lionel Messi come to Argentina's aid this week and he wants Suso to do the same when AC Milan face Inter.

Flags of Italian football clubs Inter Milan and AC Milan in Paolo Sarpi street, a Chinese neighborhood of Milan

Flags of Italian football clubs Inter Milan and AC Milan in Paolo Sarpi street, a Chinese neighborhood of Milan

Flags of Italian football clubs Inter Milan and AC Milan in Paolo Sarpi street, a Chinese neighborhood of Milan (AFP Photo/MIGUEL MEDINA)

Rafa Benitez Looking Forward to Taking on Protégé Mauricio Pellegrini for First Time as Managers

​Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez has claimed he isn't surprised by former player Mauricio Pellegrino's managerial achievements, as his side face Southampton this weekend.  The Magpies travel to the south coast on Sunday in a game that will see Benitez face up against Pellegrino for the first time as managers.  The Saints boss played under Benitez at both Liverpool and Valencia and also working with him in a coaching role at Anfield and later with Inter.  Pellegrino has since gone on to...

Rafa Benitez Looking Forward to Taking on Protégé Mauricio Pellegrini for First Time as Managers

​Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez has claimed he isn't surprised by former player Mauricio Pellegrino's managerial achievements, as his side face Southampton this weekend.  The Magpies travel to the south coast on Sunday in a game that will see Benitez face up against Pellegrino for the first time as managers.  The Saints boss played under Benitez at both Liverpool and Valencia and also working with him in a coaching role at Anfield and later with Inter.  Pellegrino has since gone on to...

Rafa Benitez Looking Forward to Taking on Protégé Mauricio Pellegrini for First Time as Managers

​Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez has claimed he isn't surprised by former player Mauricio Pellegrino's managerial achievements, as his side face Southampton this weekend.  The Magpies travel to the south coast on Sunday in a game that will see Benitez face up against Pellegrino for the first time as managers.  The Saints boss played under Benitez at both Liverpool and Valencia and also working with him in a coaching role at Anfield and later with Inter.  Pellegrino has since gone on to...

Rafa Benitez Looking Forward to Taking on Protégé Mauricio Pellegrini for First Time as Managers

​Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez has claimed he isn't surprised by former player Mauricio Pellegrino's managerial achievements, as his side face Southampton this weekend.  The Magpies travel to the south coast on Sunday in a game that will see Benitez face up against Pellegrino for the first time as managers.  The Saints boss played under Benitez at both Liverpool and Valencia and also working with him in a coaching role at Anfield and later with Inter.  Pellegrino has since gone on to...

Jose Mourinho the supreme tactician has a plan to beat Liverpool

“To me, analysing the opponent is key because the way I practice and play is influenced by it.” Jose Mourinho, June 2017 Manchester United travel to Anfield on Saturday, almost exactly a year since their last visit when they left with a point and Jose Mourinho railing against the criticism heaped on his shoulders after a goalless draw. Liverpool mustered three shots on target to United’s one that night, despite having 65 per cent of the ball, and Mourinho was bemused after the match that critics were quick to condemn a game-plan that had not only stifled Liverpool’s plan A but exposed his counterpart Jurgen Klopp’s lack of an alternative remedy to their opponent’s obduracy. Those bleating about a defensive mindset had conveniently overlooked the many occasions when Sir Alex Ferguson would rock up at Anfield and eschew “the United way” in favour of pragmatism, such as September 2005, when the Scot also left with a point after a hard earned stalemate. In his last 15 visits to Anfield, Ferguson’s United scored more than once on just three occasions. John Terry, the former Chelsea captain, once remarked that the big games are when Mourinho “comes into his own” and one of the reasons for the Portuguese’s success in them is because no one can ever be quite sure what he is planning next. He is football’s arch-chameleon in that respect. Even without the injured Sadio Mane and with Adam Lallana still sidelined, Liverpool fans will have a pretty good idea of how Klopp will try to tackle United. John Terry says the big games are where Mourinho 'comes into his own' Credit: Reuters Mourinho? If he does opt for a similar approach to last time out at Anfield, you can be sure it will have modifications that make it far from an identikit system, and, if it is more expansive, it will inevitably come complete with the checks and balances that help to explain why his sides are so rarely hopelessly exposed. When it comes to those high stakes fixtures, in particular, few managers tailor their tactics so studiously around the strengths and weaknesses of opponents - and awareness of his team’s own qualities and shortcomings. “We prepare a game better when we’re aware of our own weaknesses,” Mourinho says. “I tell my players that, for me, beautiful is not giving our opponents what they want.”  The rewards have been handsome. In his 13 full seasons as a manager with Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and United, Mourinho has won almost 60 per cent of his 130 league matches against sides that finished the campaign in the top six, losing just 17 of them – barely 13 per cent - and amassing an average of 2.04 points per match. Graphic: Mourinho's record against top 6 opposition There have been 60 clean sheets, and of those 17 defeats, only six were by more than a one-goal margin. Thirty wins and 20 draws from 65 away fixtures underline how successful he is on his travels, and although more than a quarter of all victories were 1-0 wins, 42 were by at least a two goal margin and 18 by at least a three goal margin, which points to a multifaceted approach. And that is the point about Mourinho: there are many strings to his bow. When Inter beat Barcelona 3-1 in the Champions League in April 2010, Mourinho had his side press high and Wesley Sneijder dictate the play, which caught their opponents completely off guard. Mourinho masterminded a 3-1 win for Inter over Barcelona, with Wesley Sneijder pivotal Credit: Getty images Against Ajax in the Europa League final last May, Mourinho vetoed United’s centre-halves from playing the ball to his midfielders, vacating the area where Ajax would ordinarily recover possession by pressing high. By contrast, in the Champions League with Chelsea in 2007, Mourinho flooded the midfield against Liverpool in the first half at Stamford Bridge and had his wide forwards launch frequent aerial bombardments into their opponent’s box. When Chelsea ended Manchester City’s 100 per cent home record in February 2014, Mourinho dropped his star player, Oscar, and ransacked Manuel Pellegrini’s side on the counter-attack, in much the same way as Real did Barcelona in April 2012 en route to inflicting the Catalan club’s first home defeat in 55 matches. Mourinho’s overall record against top-six opposition Perhaps at Anfield on Saturday Mourinho will look to do similar, operating a low defensive block and then seeking to exploit a fragile Liverpool underbelly on the transition? Or maybe Ander Herrera, in the absence of the injured Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini, will be tasked with man-marking Philippe Coutinho in the same way he so effectively shadowed Eden Hazard against Chelsea last season? Mourinho certainly sees beauty in collective defensive rigour where others perhaps only see negativity or caution. United’s goalless draw at Anfield 12 months ago bore many of the traits of Chelsea’s 2-0 win there in April 2014, a result that dealt a huge blow to Liverpool’s title aspirations that season and invited accusations that Mourinho had “killed football” with his team’s perceived time wasting and overtly defensive set-up. Mourinho might use Ander Herrera in a defensive role this weekend Credit: AP The perception of control is contentious. Many regard having plenty of the ball as control. But if possession fails to translate into chances, and the opponents are virtually untroubled, can that be categorised as control? Mourinho stressed that point after last year’s trip to Anfield, when he said United “didn’t want to control the game by having the ball all the time.” One thing is certain - United supporters can be confident Mourinho will have another carefully crafted plan in place this time around.

Jose Mourinho the supreme tactician has a plan to beat Liverpool

“To me, analysing the opponent is key because the way I practice and play is influenced by it.” Jose Mourinho, June 2017 Manchester United travel to Anfield on Saturday, almost exactly a year since their last visit when they left with a point and Jose Mourinho railing against the criticism heaped on his shoulders after a goalless draw. Liverpool mustered three shots on target to United’s one that night, despite having 65 per cent of the ball, and Mourinho was bemused after the match that critics were quick to condemn a game-plan that had not only stifled Liverpool’s plan A but exposed his counterpart Jurgen Klopp’s lack of an alternative remedy to their opponent’s obduracy. Those bleating about a defensive mindset had conveniently overlooked the many occasions when Sir Alex Ferguson would rock up at Anfield and eschew “the United way” in favour of pragmatism, such as September 2005, when the Scot also left with a point after a hard earned stalemate. In his last 15 visits to Anfield, Ferguson’s United scored more than once on just three occasions. John Terry, the former Chelsea captain, once remarked that the big games are when Mourinho “comes into his own” and one of the reasons for the Portuguese’s success in them is because no one can ever be quite sure what he is planning next. He is football’s arch-chameleon in that respect. Even without the injured Sadio Mane and with Adam Lallana still sidelined, Liverpool fans will have a pretty good idea of how Klopp will try to tackle United. John Terry says the big games are where Mourinho 'comes into his own' Credit: Reuters Mourinho? If he does opt for a similar approach to last time out at Anfield, you can be sure it will have modifications that make it far from an identikit system, and, if it is more expansive, it will inevitably come complete with the checks and balances that help to explain why his sides are so rarely hopelessly exposed. When it comes to those high stakes fixtures, in particular, few managers tailor their tactics so studiously around the strengths and weaknesses of opponents - and awareness of his team’s own qualities and shortcomings. “We prepare a game better when we’re aware of our own weaknesses,” Mourinho says. “I tell my players that, for me, beautiful is not giving our opponents what they want.”  The rewards have been handsome. In his 13 full seasons as a manager with Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and United, Mourinho has won almost 60 per cent of his 130 league matches against sides that finished the campaign in the top six, losing just 17 of them – barely 13 per cent - and amassing an average of 2.04 points per match. Graphic: Mourinho's record against top 6 opposition There have been 60 clean sheets, and of those 17 defeats, only six were by more than a one-goal margin. Thirty wins and 20 draws from 65 away fixtures underline how successful he is on his travels, and although more than a quarter of all victories were 1-0 wins, 42 were by at least a two goal margin and 18 by at least a three goal margin, which points to a multifaceted approach. And that is the point about Mourinho: there are many strings to his bow. When Inter beat Barcelona 3-1 in the Champions League in April 2010, Mourinho had his side press high and Wesley Sneijder dictate the play, which caught their opponents completely off guard. Mourinho masterminded a 3-1 win for Inter over Barcelona, with Wesley Sneijder pivotal Credit: Getty images Against Ajax in the Europa League final last May, Mourinho vetoed United’s centre-halves from playing the ball to his midfielders, vacating the area where Ajax would ordinarily recover possession by pressing high. By contrast, in the Champions League with Chelsea in 2007, Mourinho flooded the midfield against Liverpool in the first half at Stamford Bridge and had his wide forwards launch frequent aerial bombardments into their opponent’s box. When Chelsea ended Manchester City’s 100 per cent home record in February 2014, Mourinho dropped his star player, Oscar, and ransacked Manuel Pellegrini’s side on the counter-attack, in much the same way as Real did Barcelona in April 2012 en route to inflicting the Catalan club’s first home defeat in 55 matches. Mourinho’s overall record against top-six opposition Perhaps at Anfield on Saturday Mourinho will look to do similar, operating a low defensive block and then seeking to exploit a fragile Liverpool underbelly on the transition? Or maybe Ander Herrera, in the absence of the injured Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini, will be tasked with man-marking Philippe Coutinho in the same way he so effectively shadowed Eden Hazard against Chelsea last season? Mourinho certainly sees beauty in collective defensive rigour where others perhaps only see negativity or caution. United’s goalless draw at Anfield 12 months ago bore many of the traits of Chelsea’s 2-0 win there in April 2014, a result that dealt a huge blow to Liverpool’s title aspirations that season and invited accusations that Mourinho had “killed football” with his team’s perceived time wasting and overtly defensive set-up. Mourinho might use Ander Herrera in a defensive role this weekend Credit: AP The perception of control is contentious. Many regard having plenty of the ball as control. But if possession fails to translate into chances, and the opponents are virtually untroubled, can that be categorised as control? Mourinho stressed that point after last year’s trip to Anfield, when he said United “didn’t want to control the game by having the ball all the time.” One thing is certain - United supporters can be confident Mourinho will have another carefully crafted plan in place this time around.

Jose Mourinho the supreme tactician has a plan to beat Liverpool

“To me, analysing the opponent is key because the way I practice and play is influenced by it.” Jose Mourinho, June 2017 Manchester United travel to Anfield on Saturday, almost exactly a year since their last visit when they left with a point and Jose Mourinho railing against the criticism heaped on his shoulders after a goalless draw. Liverpool mustered three shots on target to United’s one that night, despite having 65 per cent of the ball, and Mourinho was bemused after the match that critics were quick to condemn a game-plan that had not only stifled Liverpool’s plan A but exposed his counterpart Jurgen Klopp’s lack of an alternative remedy to their opponent’s obduracy. Those bleating about a defensive mindset had conveniently overlooked the many occasions when Sir Alex Ferguson would rock up at Anfield and eschew “the United way” in favour of pragmatism, such as September 2005, when the Scot also left with a point after a hard earned stalemate. In his last 15 visits to Anfield, Ferguson’s United scored more than once on just three occasions. John Terry, the former Chelsea captain, once remarked that the big games are when Mourinho “comes into his own” and one of the reasons for the Portuguese’s success in them is because no one can ever be quite sure what he is planning next. He is football’s arch-chameleon in that respect. Even without the injured Sadio Mane and with Adam Lallana still sidelined, Liverpool fans will have a pretty good idea of how Klopp will try to tackle United. John Terry says the big games are where Mourinho 'comes into his own' Credit: Reuters Mourinho? If he does opt for a similar approach to last time out at Anfield, you can be sure it will have modifications that make it far from an identikit system, and, if it is more expansive, it will inevitably come complete with the checks and balances that help to explain why his sides are so rarely hopelessly exposed. When it comes to those high stakes fixtures, in particular, few managers tailor their tactics so studiously around the strengths and weaknesses of opponents - and awareness of his team’s own qualities and shortcomings. “We prepare a game better when we’re aware of our own weaknesses,” Mourinho says. “I tell my players that, for me, beautiful is not giving our opponents what they want.”  The rewards have been handsome. In his 13 full seasons as a manager with Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and United, Mourinho has won almost 60 per cent of his 130 league matches against sides that finished the campaign in the top six, losing just 17 of them – barely 13 per cent - and amassing an average of 2.04 points per match. Graphic: Mourinho's record against top 6 opposition There have been 60 clean sheets, and of those 17 defeats, only six were by more than a one-goal margin. Thirty wins and 20 draws from 65 away fixtures underline how successful he is on his travels, and although more than a quarter of all victories were 1-0 wins, 42 were by at least a two goal margin and 18 by at least a three goal margin, which points to a multifaceted approach. And that is the point about Mourinho: there are many strings to his bow. When Inter beat Barcelona 3-1 in the Champions League in April 2010, Mourinho had his side press high and Wesley Sneijder dictate the play, which caught their opponents completely off guard. Mourinho masterminded a 3-1 win for Inter over Barcelona, with Wesley Sneijder pivotal Credit: Getty images Against Ajax in the Europa League final last May, Mourinho vetoed United’s centre-halves from playing the ball to his midfielders, vacating the area where Ajax would ordinarily recover possession by pressing high. By contrast, in the Champions League with Chelsea in 2007, Mourinho flooded the midfield against Liverpool in the first half at Stamford Bridge and had his wide forwards launch frequent aerial bombardments into their opponent’s box. When Chelsea ended Manchester City’s 100 per cent home record in February 2014, Mourinho dropped his star player, Oscar, and ransacked Manuel Pellegrini’s side on the counter-attack, in much the same way as Real did Barcelona in April 2012 en route to inflicting the Catalan club’s first home defeat in 55 matches. Mourinho’s overall record against top-six opposition Perhaps at Anfield on Saturday Mourinho will look to do similar, operating a low defensive block and then seeking to exploit a fragile Liverpool underbelly on the transition? Or maybe Ander Herrera, in the absence of the injured Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini, will be tasked with man-marking Philippe Coutinho in the same way he so effectively shadowed Eden Hazard against Chelsea last season? Mourinho certainly sees beauty in collective defensive rigour where others perhaps only see negativity or caution. United’s goalless draw at Anfield 12 months ago bore many of the traits of Chelsea’s 2-0 win there in April 2014, a result that dealt a huge blow to Liverpool’s title aspirations that season and invited accusations that Mourinho had “killed football” with his team’s perceived time wasting and overtly defensive set-up. Mourinho might use Ander Herrera in a defensive role this weekend Credit: AP The perception of control is contentious. Many regard having plenty of the ball as control. But if possession fails to translate into chances, and the opponents are virtually untroubled, can that be categorised as control? Mourinho stressed that point after last year’s trip to Anfield, when he said United “didn’t want to control the game by having the ball all the time.” One thing is certain - United supporters can be confident Mourinho will have another carefully crafted plan in place this time around.

Jose Mourinho the supreme tactician has a plan to beat Liverpool

“To me, analysing the opponent is key because the way I practice and play is influenced by it.” Jose Mourinho, June 2017 Manchester United travel to Anfield on Saturday, almost exactly a year since their last visit when they left with a point and Jose Mourinho railing against the criticism heaped on his shoulders after a goalless draw. Liverpool mustered three shots on target to United’s one that night, despite having 65 per cent of the ball, and Mourinho was bemused after the match that critics were quick to condemn a game-plan that had not only stifled Liverpool’s plan A but exposed his counterpart Jurgen Klopp’s lack of an alternative remedy to their opponent’s obduracy. Those bleating about a defensive mindset had conveniently overlooked the many occasions when Sir Alex Ferguson would rock up at Anfield and eschew “the United way” in favour of pragmatism, such as September 2005, when the Scot also left with a point after a hard earned stalemate. In his last 15 visits to Anfield, Ferguson’s United scored more than once on just three occasions. John Terry, the former Chelsea captain, once remarked that the big games are when Mourinho “comes into his own” and one of the reasons for the Portuguese’s success in them is because no one can ever be quite sure what he is planning next. He is football’s arch-chameleon in that respect. Even without the injured Sadio Mane and with Adam Lallana still sidelined, Liverpool fans will have a pretty good idea of how Klopp will try to tackle United. John Terry says the big games are where Mourinho 'comes into his own' Credit: Reuters Mourinho? If he does opt for a similar approach to last time out at Anfield, you can be sure it will have modifications that make it far from an identikit system, and, if it is more expansive, it will inevitably come complete with the checks and balances that help to explain why his sides are so rarely hopelessly exposed. When it comes to those high stakes fixtures, in particular, few managers tailor their tactics so studiously around the strengths and weaknesses of opponents - and awareness of his team’s own qualities and shortcomings. “We prepare a game better when we’re aware of our own weaknesses,” Mourinho says. “I tell my players that, for me, beautiful is not giving our opponents what they want.”  The rewards have been handsome. In his 13 full seasons as a manager with Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and United, Mourinho has won almost 60 per cent of his 130 league matches against sides that finished the campaign in the top six, losing just 17 of them – barely 13 per cent - and amassing an average of 2.04 points per match. Graphic: Mourinho's record against top 6 opposition There have been 60 clean sheets, and of those 17 defeats, only six were by more than a one-goal margin. Thirty wins and 20 draws from 65 away fixtures underline how successful he is on his travels, and although more than a quarter of all victories were 1-0 wins, 42 were by at least a two goal margin and 18 by at least a three goal margin, which points to a multifaceted approach. And that is the point about Mourinho: there are many strings to his bow. When Inter beat Barcelona 3-1 in the Champions League in April 2010, Mourinho had his side press high and Wesley Sneijder dictate the play, which caught their opponents completely off guard. Mourinho masterminded a 3-1 win for Inter over Barcelona, with Wesley Sneijder pivotal Credit: Getty images Against Ajax in the Europa League final last May, Mourinho vetoed United’s centre-halves from playing the ball to his midfielders, vacating the area where Ajax would ordinarily recover possession by pressing high. By contrast, in the Champions League with Chelsea in 2007, Mourinho flooded the midfield against Liverpool in the first half at Stamford Bridge and had his wide forwards launch frequent aerial bombardments into their opponent’s box. When Chelsea ended Manchester City’s 100 per cent home record in February 2014, Mourinho dropped his star player, Oscar, and ransacked Manuel Pellegrini’s side on the counter-attack, in much the same way as Real did Barcelona in April 2012 en route to inflicting the Catalan club’s first home defeat in 55 matches. Mourinho’s overall record against top-six opposition Perhaps at Anfield on Saturday Mourinho will look to do similar, operating a low defensive block and then seeking to exploit a fragile Liverpool underbelly on the transition? Or maybe Ander Herrera, in the absence of the injured Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini, will be tasked with man-marking Philippe Coutinho in the same way he so effectively shadowed Eden Hazard against Chelsea last season? Mourinho certainly sees beauty in collective defensive rigour where others perhaps only see negativity or caution. United’s goalless draw at Anfield 12 months ago bore many of the traits of Chelsea’s 2-0 win there in April 2014, a result that dealt a huge blow to Liverpool’s title aspirations that season and invited accusations that Mourinho had “killed football” with his team’s perceived time wasting and overtly defensive set-up. Mourinho might use Ander Herrera in a defensive role this weekend Credit: AP The perception of control is contentious. Many regard having plenty of the ball as control. But if possession fails to translate into chances, and the opponents are virtually untroubled, can that be categorised as control? Mourinho stressed that point after last year’s trip to Anfield, when he said United “didn’t want to control the game by having the ball all the time.” One thing is certain - United supporters can be confident Mourinho will have another carefully crafted plan in place this time around.

Inter Milan's Antonio Candreva kicks the ball during their Italian Serie A match against Spal, at San Siro Stadium in Milan, on September 10, 2017

Inter Milan's Antonio Candreva kicks the ball during their Italian Serie A match against Spal, at San Siro Stadium in Milan, on September 10, 2017 (AFP Photo/MIGUEL MEDINA)

Inter Milan's Antonio Candreva kicks the ball during their Italian Serie A match against Spal, at San Siro Stadium in Milan, on September 10, 2017

Icardi seeks social media inspiration to name new puppy

Fresh from featuring in Argentina's World Cup qualifying win over Ecuador, the Inter star is asking fans for help naming his new dog

Gobillot unlikely to play in 2018

Freshman Joe Gobillot was not listed on either the Black or Gold roster in Vanderbilt'’s inter-squad series that

Inter winger Candreva wary of wounded Milan

Inter winger Candreva wary of wounded Milan

Inter winger Candreva wary of wounded Milan

AC Milan go into the derby against Inter on the back of successive Serie A defeats, giving Antonio Candreva reason for caution.

Tom Ince exclusive: 'Leaving Liverpool, turning down Inter - I don't regret anything'

Tom Ince walked away from Liverpool, spurned Inter Milan and Monaco, felt he had outgrown England’s Under-21s and was a phone call away from returning to Anfield. Yet as he sits at Huddersfield’s training ground considering those tough choices one emotion stands out. Vindication. With opportunities to thrive at elite clubs restricted, Ince recognised England’s most highly-rated young players are in danger of forming a lost rather than golden generation. So he left Liverpool as a teenager, joining Blackpool in the Championship, believing he would work his way up after a perceived step down. “If you are a young player waiting for a chance at a top club, what do you do?” asks Ince. “Stay in the top facility, enjoying all the best travel, wearing all the best sports gear? “Or do you say I am going to be brave and step away even if that means going to League One or the Championship? “Harry Kane is the prime example. He went on loan, went back to Tottenham and the rest is history. Credit to him. When people saw him at Norwich or Leicester, who saw his next step? He backed himself and now people forget the doubts they might have had. I think more are seeing it that way. Look at Tammy Abraham and Nathaniel Chalobah. They have done the right thing for their career by leaving Chelsea. Harry Kane is now England's No 1 Credit: GETTY IMAGES “My dream was to play at Anfield but I could not waste time feeling my way was blocked. You have to take decisions and do what is best for your career. I did not want to leave. I was training with the first team. But I needed to go and show what I was about. “I had been to Notts County on loan and that was the eye opener. It was League One, but it was the atmosphere and feeling of playing against grown men who are doing this because it is their life, to put food on the table. I was 18, playing in front of 10,000 or 15,000 who have paid to watch you. It was better than playing in front of 20 or 30 fans in a reserve game. There is no sense of reward, inspiration or even motivation if you do not have that game at 3pm on a Saturday to look forward to. I did not want to go back to that.” The debate about development football is particularly relevant at Huddersfield, where the club has scrapped academy age groups Under-16 to direct focus solely on raising the standards between Under-18 to 23 level. Ince knows from experience this is the problem area. “Reserve football is not what it used to be. It’s the young lads rather than older professionals coming back from injury or suspension. There used to be more competition to it,” says Ince. Tom Ince (left) playing for Derby County Credit: GETTY IMAGES “Young lads have to look at it and ask do I waste my time and hope, or do I take the initiative at 18 or 19 where I have to get experience because reserve team football does not prepare you for anything? You can play 100 reserve games and not have a clue what has hit you after one Championship game. If there is no entry into the first team, back yourself at a club where you will play and then you have plenty of time to get back to that highest level. The alternative is you will get to 23 or 24 and think ‘what was I doing all those years?’ “People always say ‘how can the FA help, how can the Premier League help’, but it comes down to the player. Do you back yourself to get to where you want to be in four years? Go and get first-team football at the highest level you can, open your eyes and make brave decisions. It might seem at first you are thinking ‘what am I doing here, giving up a position at an Academy at a big club where it is all rosy?’ But down the line you will get to where you want to be. It is a tough call, though.” Ince feels similarly about England. He was a regular for the Under-21s but felt selection as an over-age player in 2015 was counter-productive. He pulled out of that year’s Euro Championships. Tom Ince (right) with England U21s Credit: PA “You have the Under-21s and the bridge to the first team, but there is a limbo period with that next step,” he says. “You need to show you can do it at elite level. Germany and Spain are so good because it seems their whole system through the Under-17s to the senior side blends. England are trying that now, which is the right way. “At that time I had already been to two tournaments, was 23 - 18 months older than most of the group - and I felt I needed a summer break and to consider my next career move. I did not turn down my country - you think my dad would let me do that? I just felt stuck in that limbo where I had to progress to a higher level. “England’s Under-20s have done fantastic things but who is playing for their clubs? The England youth set-up has been really successful this year, but it must be frustrating for so many of those lads they are not getting regular football. A lot of them must be thinking ‘what do I do?’ You get success, you feel confident and you want more, but it is not easy. It does not just need bravery from the players, but managers. But managers are sceptical.” Tom Ince in action for Huddersfield Credit: ACTION IMAGES If there are regrets, it is that the chance to complete the circle and establish a Premier League role did not come sooner when Liverpool tried to re-sign Ince in 2013, and he also considers what might have been when Italy beckoned in 2014. “Liverpool was very close but the Blackpool chairman did not want to be out of pocket because Liverpool owned a percentage of the sell-on fee,” recalls Ince. “He made it difficult and they would not let me go. That was disappointing because I felt I would have been given a chance under Brendan Rodgers. “When Inter were interested in me I stood in the San Siro and the English boy inside me told me to go to the Premier League.” A move to Crystal Palace and Hull - when they were in the top flight - proved unsatisfactory. “I had a taste of the Premier League with six months at Crystal Palace but it did not work out. Tony Pulis played a different way and I did not suit it,” he says. “At Hull it was similar. I started the first few games but then the manager went a different way.” At Huddersfield, Ince has the chance he has worked for, with a manager he feels suited to his style. “David Wagner is unique. He is detailed and thorough and you see the Dortmund way in him,” says Ince. “He wants entertainment and excitement and players to enjoy the game and express themselves. It’s a fantastic atmosphere around the squad. We are here to prove ourselves. Our objective is to stay in the league. The Tottenham game was an eye opener but it shows the level we are at. But we will give it a go and maybe games like that we just have to take it and move on. We will hurt a lot of teams.” In a week when Gareth Southgate’s lack of options were again exposed, Ince says every English player in the Premier League has extra motivation in a World Cup season. “You always have to have that dream,” he said. “The Premier League gives you the profile. There are a lot of youngsters in our squad, not just me. We have Tommy Smith at full-back who can impress this season. Why shouldn’t we have the dream? It would be stupid not to.”

Tom Ince exclusive: 'Leaving Liverpool, turning down Inter - I don't regret anything'

Tom Ince walked away from Liverpool, spurned Inter Milan and Monaco, felt he had outgrown England’s Under-21s and was a phone call away from returning to Anfield. Yet as he sits at Huddersfield’s training ground considering those tough choices one emotion stands out. Vindication. With opportunities to thrive at elite clubs restricted, Ince recognised England’s most highly-rated young players are in danger of forming a lost rather than golden generation. So he left Liverpool as a teenager, joining Blackpool in the Championship, believing he would work his way up after a perceived step down. “If you are a young player waiting for a chance at a top club, what do you do?” asks Ince. “Stay in the top facility, enjoying all the best travel, wearing all the best sports gear? “Or do you say I am going to be brave and step away even if that means going to League One or the Championship? “Harry Kane is the prime example. He went on loan, went back to Tottenham and the rest is history. Credit to him. When people saw him at Norwich or Leicester, who saw his next step? He backed himself and now people forget the doubts they might have had. I think more are seeing it that way. Look at Tammy Abraham and Nathaniel Chalobah. They have done the right thing for their career by leaving Chelsea. Harry Kane is now England's No 1 Credit: GETTY IMAGES “My dream was to play at Anfield but I could not waste time feeling my way was blocked. You have to take decisions and do what is best for your career. I did not want to leave. I was training with the first team. But I needed to go and show what I was about. “I had been to Notts County on loan and that was the eye opener. It was League One, but it was the atmosphere and feeling of playing against grown men who are doing this because it is their life, to put food on the table. I was 18, playing in front of 10,000 or 15,000 who have paid to watch you. It was better than playing in front of 20 or 30 fans in a reserve game. There is no sense of reward, inspiration or even motivation if you do not have that game at 3pm on a Saturday to look forward to. I did not want to go back to that.” The debate about development football is particularly relevant at Huddersfield, where the club has scrapped academy age groups Under-16 to direct focus solely on raising the standards between Under-18 to 23 level. Ince knows from experience this is the problem area. “Reserve football is not what it used to be. It’s the young lads rather than older professionals coming back from injury or suspension. There used to be more competition to it,” says Ince. Tom Ince (left) playing for Derby County Credit: GETTY IMAGES “Young lads have to look at it and ask do I waste my time and hope, or do I take the initiative at 18 or 19 where I have to get experience because reserve team football does not prepare you for anything? You can play 100 reserve games and not have a clue what has hit you after one Championship game. If there is no entry into the first team, back yourself at a club where you will play and then you have plenty of time to get back to that highest level. The alternative is you will get to 23 or 24 and think ‘what was I doing all those years?’ “People always say ‘how can the FA help, how can the Premier League help’, but it comes down to the player. Do you back yourself to get to where you want to be in four years? Go and get first-team football at the highest level you can, open your eyes and make brave decisions. It might seem at first you are thinking ‘what am I doing here, giving up a position at an Academy at a big club where it is all rosy?’ But down the line you will get to where you want to be. It is a tough call, though.” Ince feels similarly about England. He was a regular for the Under-21s but felt selection as an over-age player in 2015 was counter-productive. He pulled out of that year’s Euro Championships. Tom Ince (right) with England U21s Credit: PA “You have the Under-21s and the bridge to the first team, but there is a limbo period with that next step,” he says. “You need to show you can do it at elite level. Germany and Spain are so good because it seems their whole system through the Under-17s to the senior side blends. England are trying that now, which is the right way. “At that time I had already been to two tournaments, was 23 - 18 months older than most of the group - and I felt I needed a summer break and to consider my next career move. I did not turn down my country - you think my dad would let me do that? I just felt stuck in that limbo where I had to progress to a higher level. “England’s Under-20s have done fantastic things but who is playing for their clubs? The England youth set-up has been really successful this year, but it must be frustrating for so many of those lads they are not getting regular football. A lot of them must be thinking ‘what do I do?’ You get success, you feel confident and you want more, but it is not easy. It does not just need bravery from the players, but managers. But managers are sceptical.” Tom Ince in action for Huddersfield Credit: ACTION IMAGES If there are regrets, it is that the chance to complete the circle and establish a Premier League role did not come sooner when Liverpool tried to re-sign Ince in 2013, and he also considers what might have been when Italy beckoned in 2014. “Liverpool was very close but the Blackpool chairman did not want to be out of pocket because Liverpool owned a percentage of the sell-on fee,” recalls Ince. “He made it difficult and they would not let me go. That was disappointing because I felt I would have been given a chance under Brendan Rodgers. “When Inter were interested in me I stood in the San Siro and the English boy inside me told me to go to the Premier League.” A move to Crystal Palace and Hull - when they were in the top flight - proved unsatisfactory. “I had a taste of the Premier League with six months at Crystal Palace but it did not work out. Tony Pulis played a different way and I did not suit it,” he says. “At Hull it was similar. I started the first few games but then the manager went a different way.” At Huddersfield, Ince has the chance he has worked for, with a manager he feels suited to his style. “David Wagner is unique. He is detailed and thorough and you see the Dortmund way in him,” says Ince. “He wants entertainment and excitement and players to enjoy the game and express themselves. It’s a fantastic atmosphere around the squad. We are here to prove ourselves. Our objective is to stay in the league. The Tottenham game was an eye opener but it shows the level we are at. But we will give it a go and maybe games like that we just have to take it and move on. We will hurt a lot of teams.” In a week when Gareth Southgate’s lack of options were again exposed, Ince says every English player in the Premier League has extra motivation in a World Cup season. “You always have to have that dream,” he said. “The Premier League gives you the profile. There are a lot of youngsters in our squad, not just me. We have Tommy Smith at full-back who can impress this season. Why shouldn’t we have the dream? It would be stupid not to.”

Tom Ince exclusive: 'Leaving Liverpool, turning down Inter - I don't regret anything'

Tom Ince walked away from Liverpool, spurned Inter Milan and Monaco, felt he had outgrown England’s Under-21s and was a phone call away from returning to Anfield. Yet as he sits at Huddersfield’s training ground considering those tough choices one emotion stands out. Vindication. With opportunities to thrive at elite clubs restricted, Ince recognised England’s most highly-rated young players are in danger of forming a lost rather than golden generation. So he left Liverpool as a teenager, joining Blackpool in the Championship, believing he would work his way up after a perceived step down. “If you are a young player waiting for a chance at a top club, what do you do?” asks Ince. “Stay in the top facility, enjoying all the best travel, wearing all the best sports gear? “Or do you say I am going to be brave and step away even if that means going to League One or the Championship? “Harry Kane is the prime example. He went on loan, went back to Tottenham and the rest is history. Credit to him. When people saw him at Norwich or Leicester, who saw his next step? He backed himself and now people forget the doubts they might have had. I think more are seeing it that way. Look at Tammy Abraham and Nathaniel Chalobah. They have done the right thing for their career by leaving Chelsea. Harry Kane is now England's No 1 Credit: GETTY IMAGES “My dream was to play at Anfield but I could not waste time feeling my way was blocked. You have to take decisions and do what is best for your career. I did not want to leave. I was training with the first team. But I needed to go and show what I was about. “I had been to Notts County on loan and that was the eye opener. It was League One, but it was the atmosphere and feeling of playing against grown men who are doing this because it is their life, to put food on the table. I was 18, playing in front of 10,000 or 15,000 who have paid to watch you. It was better than playing in front of 20 or 30 fans in a reserve game. There is no sense of reward, inspiration or even motivation if you do not have that game at 3pm on a Saturday to look forward to. I did not want to go back to that.” The debate about development football is particularly relevant at Huddersfield, where the club has scrapped academy age groups Under-16 to direct focus solely on raising the standards between Under-18 to 23 level. Ince knows from experience this is the problem area. “Reserve football is not what it used to be. It’s the young lads rather than older professionals coming back from injury or suspension. There used to be more competition to it,” says Ince. Tom Ince (left) playing for Derby County Credit: GETTY IMAGES “Young lads have to look at it and ask do I waste my time and hope, or do I take the initiative at 18 or 19 where I have to get experience because reserve team football does not prepare you for anything? You can play 100 reserve games and not have a clue what has hit you after one Championship game. If there is no entry into the first team, back yourself at a club where you will play and then you have plenty of time to get back to that highest level. The alternative is you will get to 23 or 24 and think ‘what was I doing all those years?’ “People always say ‘how can the FA help, how can the Premier League help’, but it comes down to the player. Do you back yourself to get to where you want to be in four years? Go and get first-team football at the highest level you can, open your eyes and make brave decisions. It might seem at first you are thinking ‘what am I doing here, giving up a position at an Academy at a big club where it is all rosy?’ But down the line you will get to where you want to be. It is a tough call, though.” Ince feels similarly about England. He was a regular for the Under-21s but felt selection as an over-age player in 2015 was counter-productive. He pulled out of that year’s Euro Championships. Tom Ince (right) with England U21s Credit: PA “You have the Under-21s and the bridge to the first team, but there is a limbo period with that next step,” he says. “You need to show you can do it at elite level. Germany and Spain are so good because it seems their whole system through the Under-17s to the senior side blends. England are trying that now, which is the right way. “At that time I had already been to two tournaments, was 23 - 18 months older than most of the group - and I felt I needed a summer break and to consider my next career move. I did not turn down my country - you think my dad would let me do that? I just felt stuck in that limbo where I had to progress to a higher level. “England’s Under-20s have done fantastic things but who is playing for their clubs? The England youth set-up has been really successful this year, but it must be frustrating for so many of those lads they are not getting regular football. A lot of them must be thinking ‘what do I do?’ You get success, you feel confident and you want more, but it is not easy. It does not just need bravery from the players, but managers. But managers are sceptical.” Tom Ince in action for Huddersfield Credit: ACTION IMAGES If there are regrets, it is that the chance to complete the circle and establish a Premier League role did not come sooner when Liverpool tried to re-sign Ince in 2013, and he also considers what might have been when Italy beckoned in 2014. “Liverpool was very close but the Blackpool chairman did not want to be out of pocket because Liverpool owned a percentage of the sell-on fee,” recalls Ince. “He made it difficult and they would not let me go. That was disappointing because I felt I would have been given a chance under Brendan Rodgers. “When Inter were interested in me I stood in the San Siro and the English boy inside me told me to go to the Premier League.” A move to Crystal Palace and Hull - when they were in the top flight - proved unsatisfactory. “I had a taste of the Premier League with six months at Crystal Palace but it did not work out. Tony Pulis played a different way and I did not suit it,” he says. “At Hull it was similar. I started the first few games but then the manager went a different way.” At Huddersfield, Ince has the chance he has worked for, with a manager he feels suited to his style. “David Wagner is unique. He is detailed and thorough and you see the Dortmund way in him,” says Ince. “He wants entertainment and excitement and players to enjoy the game and express themselves. It’s a fantastic atmosphere around the squad. We are here to prove ourselves. Our objective is to stay in the league. The Tottenham game was an eye opener but it shows the level we are at. But we will give it a go and maybe games like that we just have to take it and move on. We will hurt a lot of teams.” In a week when Gareth Southgate’s lack of options were again exposed, Ince says every English player in the Premier League has extra motivation in a World Cup season. “You always have to have that dream,” he said. “The Premier League gives you the profile. There are a lot of youngsters in our squad, not just me. We have Tommy Smith at full-back who can impress this season. Why shouldn’t we have the dream? It would be stupid not to.”

Tom Ince exclusive: 'Leaving Liverpool, turning down Inter - I don't regret anything'

Tom Ince exclusive: 'Leaving Liverpool, turning down Inter - I don't regret anything'

Tom Ince exclusive: 'Leaving Liverpool, turning down Inter - I don't regret anything'

Tom Ince exclusive: 'Leaving Liverpool, turning down Inter - I don't regret anything'

Tom Ince exclusive: 'Leaving Liverpool, turning down Inter - I don't regret anything'

Tom Ince walked away from Liverpool, spurned Inter Milan and Monaco, felt he had outgrown England’s Under-21s and was a phone call away from returning to Anfield. Yet as he sits at Huddersfield’s training ground considering those tough choices one emotion stands out. Vindication. With opportunities to thrive at elite clubs restricted, Ince recognised England’s most highly-rated young players are in danger of forming a lost rather than golden generation. So he left Liverpool as a teenager, joining Blackpool in the Championship, believing he would work his way up after a perceived step down. “If you are a young player waiting for a chance at a top club, what do you do?” asks Ince. “Stay in the top facility, enjoying all the best travel, wearing all the best sports gear? “Or do you say I am going to be brave and step away even if that means going to League One or the Championship? “Harry Kane is the prime example. He went on loan, went back to Tottenham and the rest is history. Credit to him. When people saw him at Norwich or Leicester, who saw his next step? He backed himself and now people forget the doubts they might have had. I think more are seeing it that way. Look at Tammy Abraham and Nathaniel Chalobah. They have done the right thing for their career by leaving Chelsea. Harry Kane is now England's No 1 Credit: GETTY IMAGES “My dream was to play at Anfield but I could not waste time feeling my way was blocked. You have to take decisions and do what is best for your career. I did not want to leave. I was training with the first team. But I needed to go and show what I was about. “I had been to Notts County on loan and that was the eye opener. It was League One, but it was the atmosphere and feeling of playing against grown men who are doing this because it is their life, to put food on the table. I was 18, playing in front of 10,000 or 15,000 who have paid to watch you. It was better than playing in front of 20 or 30 fans in a reserve game. There is no sense of reward, inspiration or even motivation if you do not have that game at 3pm on a Saturday to look forward to. I did not want to go back to that.” The debate about development football is particularly relevant at Huddersfield, where the club has scrapped academy age groups Under-16 to direct focus solely on raising the standards between Under-18 to 23 level. Ince knows from experience this is the problem area. “Reserve football is not what it used to be. It’s the young lads rather than older professionals coming back from injury or suspension. There used to be more competition to it,” says Ince. Tom Ince (left) playing for Derby County Credit: GETTY IMAGES “Young lads have to look at it and ask do I waste my time and hope, or do I take the initiative at 18 or 19 where I have to get experience because reserve team football does not prepare you for anything? You can play 100 reserve games and not have a clue what has hit you after one Championship game. If there is no entry into the first team, back yourself at a club where you will play and then you have plenty of time to get back to that highest level. The alternative is you will get to 23 or 24 and think ‘what was I doing all those years?’ “People always say ‘how can the FA help, how can the Premier League help’, but it comes down to the player. Do you back yourself to get to where you want to be in four years? Go and get first-team football at the highest level you can, open your eyes and make brave decisions. It might seem at first you are thinking ‘what am I doing here, giving up a position at an Academy at a big club where it is all rosy?’ But down the line you will get to where you want to be. It is a tough call, though.” Ince feels similarly about England. He was a regular for the Under-21s but felt selection as an over-age player in 2015 was counter-productive. He pulled out of that year’s Euro Championships. Tom Ince (right) with England U21s Credit: PA “You have the Under-21s and the bridge to the first team, but there is a limbo period with that next step,” he says. “You need to show you can do it at elite level. Germany and Spain are so good because it seems their whole system through the Under-17s to the senior side blends. England are trying that now, which is the right way. “At that time I had already been to two tournaments, was 23 - 18 months older than most of the group - and I felt I needed a summer break and to consider my next career move. I did not turn down my country - you think my dad would let me do that? I just felt stuck in that limbo where I had to progress to a higher level. “England’s Under-20s have done fantastic things but who is playing for their clubs? The England youth set-up has been really successful this year, but it must be frustrating for so many of those lads they are not getting regular football. A lot of them must be thinking ‘what do I do?’ You get success, you feel confident and you want more, but it is not easy. It does not just need bravery from the players, but managers. But managers are sceptical.” Tom Ince in action for Huddersfield Credit: ACTION IMAGES If there are regrets, it is that the chance to complete the circle and establish a Premier League role did not come sooner when Liverpool tried to re-sign Ince in 2013, and he also considers what might have been when Italy beckoned in 2014. “Liverpool was very close but the Blackpool chairman did not want to be out of pocket because Liverpool owned a percentage of the sell-on fee,” recalls Ince. “He made it difficult and they would not let me go. That was disappointing because I felt I would have been given a chance under Brendan Rodgers. “When Inter were interested in me I stood in the San Siro and the English boy inside me told me to go to the Premier League.” A move to Crystal Palace and Hull - when they were in the top flight - proved unsatisfactory. “I had a taste of the Premier League with six months at Crystal Palace but it did not work out. Tony Pulis played a different way and I did not suit it,” he says. “At Hull it was similar. I started the first few games but then the manager went a different way.” At Huddersfield, Ince has the chance he has worked for, with a manager he feels suited to his style. “David Wagner is unique. He is detailed and thorough and you see the Dortmund way in him,” says Ince. “He wants entertainment and excitement and players to enjoy the game and express themselves. It’s a fantastic atmosphere around the squad. We are here to prove ourselves. Our objective is to stay in the league. The Tottenham game was an eye opener but it shows the level we are at. But we will give it a go and maybe games like that we just have to take it and move on. We will hurt a lot of teams.” In a week when Gareth Southgate’s lack of options were again exposed, Ince says every English player in the Premier League has extra motivation in a World Cup season. “You always have to have that dream,” he said. “The Premier League gives you the profile. There are a lot of youngsters in our squad, not just me. We have Tommy Smith at full-back who can impress this season. Why shouldn’t we have the dream? It would be stupid not to.”

Tom Ince exclusive: 'Leaving Liverpool, turning down Inter - I don't regret anything'

Tom Ince exclusive: 'Leaving Liverpool, turning down Inter - I don't regret anything'

Tom Ince exclusive: 'Leaving Liverpool, turning down Inter - I don't regret anything'

Tom Ince exclusive: 'Leaving Liverpool, turning down Inter - I don't regret anything'

Tom Ince exclusive: 'Leaving Liverpool, turning down Inter - I don't regret anything'

Tom Ince exclusive: 'Leaving Liverpool, turning down Inter - I don't regret anything'

Tom Ince exclusive: 'Leaving Liverpool, turning down Inter - I don't regret anything'

Tom Ince walked away from Liverpool, spurned Inter Milan and Monaco, felt he had outgrown England’s Under-21s and was a phone call away from returning to Anfield. Yet as he sits at Huddersfield’s training ground considering those tough choices one emotion stands out. Vindication. With opportunities to thrive at elite clubs restricted, Ince recognised England’s most highly-rated young players are in danger of forming a lost rather than golden generation. So he left Liverpool as a teenager, joining Blackpool in the Championship, believing he would work his way up after a perceived step down. “If you are a young player waiting for a chance at a top club, what do you do?” asks Ince. “Stay in the top facility, enjoying all the best travel, wearing all the best sports gear? “Or do you say I am going to be brave and step away even if that means going to League One or the Championship? “Harry Kane is the prime example. He went on loan, went back to Tottenham and the rest is history. Credit to him. When people saw him at Norwich or Leicester, who saw his next step? He backed himself and now people forget the doubts they might have had. I think more are seeing it that way. Look at Tammy Abraham and Nathaniel Chalobah. They have done the right thing for their career by leaving Chelsea. Harry Kane is now England's No 1 Credit: GETTY IMAGES “My dream was to play at Anfield but I could not waste time feeling my way was blocked. You have to take decisions and do what is best for your career. I did not want to leave. I was training with the first team. But I needed to go and show what I was about. “I had been to Notts County on loan and that was the eye opener. It was League One, but it was the atmosphere and feeling of playing against grown men who are doing this because it is their life, to put food on the table. I was 18, playing in front of 10,000 or 15,000 who have paid to watch you. It was better than playing in front of 20 or 30 fans in a reserve game. There is no sense of reward, inspiration or even motivation if you do not have that game at 3pm on a Saturday to look forward to. I did not want to go back to that.” The debate about development football is particularly relevant at Huddersfield, where the club has scrapped academy age groups Under-16 to direct focus solely on raising the standards between Under-18 to 23 level. Ince knows from experience this is the problem area. “Reserve football is not what it used to be. It’s the young lads rather than older professionals coming back from injury or suspension. There used to be more competition to it,” says Ince. Tom Ince (left) playing for Derby County Credit: GETTY IMAGES “Young lads have to look at it and ask do I waste my time and hope, or do I take the initiative at 18 or 19 where I have to get experience because reserve team football does not prepare you for anything? You can play 100 reserve games and not have a clue what has hit you after one Championship game. If there is no entry into the first team, back yourself at a club where you will play and then you have plenty of time to get back to that highest level. The alternative is you will get to 23 or 24 and think ‘what was I doing all those years?’ “People always say ‘how can the FA help, how can the Premier League help’, but it comes down to the player. Do you back yourself to get to where you want to be in four years? Go and get first-team football at the highest level you can, open your eyes and make brave decisions. It might seem at first you are thinking ‘what am I doing here, giving up a position at an Academy at a big club where it is all rosy?’ But down the line you will get to where you want to be. It is a tough call, though.” Ince feels similarly about England. He was a regular for the Under-21s but felt selection as an over-age player in 2015 was counter-productive. He pulled out of that year’s Euro Championships. Tom Ince (right) with England U21s Credit: PA “You have the Under-21s and the bridge to the first team, but there is a limbo period with that next step,” he says. “You need to show you can do it at elite level. Germany and Spain are so good because it seems their whole system through the Under-17s to the senior side blends. England are trying that now, which is the right way. “At that time I had already been to two tournaments, was 23 - 18 months older than most of the group - and I felt I needed a summer break and to consider my next career move. I did not turn down my country - you think my dad would let me do that? I just felt stuck in that limbo where I had to progress to a higher level. “England’s Under-20s have done fantastic things but who is playing for their clubs? The England youth set-up has been really successful this year, but it must be frustrating for so many of those lads they are not getting regular football. A lot of them must be thinking ‘what do I do?’ You get success, you feel confident and you want more, but it is not easy. It does not just need bravery from the players, but managers. But managers are sceptical.” Tom Ince in action for Huddersfield Credit: ACTION IMAGES If there are regrets, it is that the chance to complete the circle and establish a Premier League role did not come sooner when Liverpool tried to re-sign Ince in 2013, and he also considers what might have been when Italy beckoned in 2014. “Liverpool was very close but the Blackpool chairman did not want to be out of pocket because Liverpool owned a percentage of the sell-on fee,” recalls Ince. “He made it difficult and they would not let me go. That was disappointing because I felt I would have been given a chance under Brendan Rodgers. “When Inter were interested in me I stood in the San Siro and the English boy inside me told me to go to the Premier League.” A move to Crystal Palace and Hull - when they were in the top flight - proved unsatisfactory. “I had a taste of the Premier League with six months at Crystal Palace but it did not work out. Tony Pulis played a different way and I did not suit it,” he says. “At Hull it was similar. I started the first few games but then the manager went a different way.” At Huddersfield, Ince has the chance he has worked for, with a manager he feels suited to his style. “David Wagner is unique. He is detailed and thorough and you see the Dortmund way in him,” says Ince. “He wants entertainment and excitement and players to enjoy the game and express themselves. It’s a fantastic atmosphere around the squad. We are here to prove ourselves. Our objective is to stay in the league. The Tottenham game was an eye opener but it shows the level we are at. But we will give it a go and maybe games like that we just have to take it and move on. We will hurt a lot of teams.” In a week when Gareth Southgate’s lack of options were again exposed, Ince says every English player in the Premier League has extra motivation in a World Cup season. “You always have to have that dream,” he said. “The Premier League gives you the profile. There are a lot of youngsters in our squad, not just me. We have Tommy Smith at full-back who can impress this season. Why shouldn’t we have the dream? It would be stupid not to.”

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