Danny Ings gave West Ham United fans a glimpse of what they can expect to see from their new No18 in Saturday’s 2-0 Premier League win over Everton.
The striker was introduced from the substitutes’ bench with 20 minutes to play at London Stadium, just over 24 hours after completing his transfer from Aston Villa, and helped the Hammers record a welcome first win in eight top-flight matches.
With West Ham already two Jarrod Bowen goals to the good, Ings was employed in a deeper role, where his work-rate and technical ability were immediately evident.
Not only did he win two free-kicks for his team, relieving the pressure the Toffees were trying to exert late on, but he provided an outstanding long pass for Bowen, who was only denied a hat-trick by Conor Coady’s block.
“It was good,” Ings reflected. “I came on when we were defending the lead and I came on to work hard for the team and try and win free-kicks when the pressure was on. We knew that second half, they were going to come after us and we knew we'd have to suffer a little bit, but I thought we worked hard as a team and got over the line. To go out and execute like that, I thought was fantastic, and to stick it out the end like that, I thought was amazing as well.”
“Goals are my main quality, of course, as I'm a striker and that's why I pride my work on, but days like today, when you're coming on to a game where you've already got a lead, it's a different side of the game or a little bit deeper overall to try and help the team as much as I can and help with my experience in this league.”
Ings is hoping West Ham’s first Premier League victory since October, and one which lifted them out of the bottom three, will prove a catalyst for a positive second half of the Premier League season.
“The most important thing was getting to the finish and, now it's done, it's onto the next one,” he continued. “So, we’ve got to rest, recover, and get everything right in training from Monday to Friday to do what we can tactically to prepare ourselves for the next game and try and take maximum points.”
And the England international’s positive first impressions of the West Ham dressing room suggest to him that a return to the form of the previous two seasons may not to be too far away.
“Of course, when a team with this much quality in the dressing room is in and around where we are, it's surprising for everybody so to come into the environment, I have to say from the moment I came in, I can see the atmosphere and there is a real great culture within the Club and it's a pleasure to be part of,” he concluded.
“It's a massive Club. The last two seasons, finishing in the European spots was huge. And you just look at the squad and see the talent in the building, it was an opportunity I couldn't say ‘no’ to.”