Danny Ings

Rejuvenated Danny Ings on a fresh start, Lopetegui's plans and 2024/25 targets

Forward Danny Ings admits he hasn't yet shown his best form in a West Ham United shirt and is ready to take full advantage of a fresh start under new Head Coach Julen Lopetegui.

The 31-year-old experienced an up-and-down first full season in east London, after joining from Aston Villa in January 2023. 

Ings, a senior England international, has scored four goals in 52 outings in Claret and Blue, having been restricted to mostly substitute appearances. 

There have been signs of his attacking prowess, however, and he could’ve had a hat-trick against Burnley in March, when he shone during a memorable cameo off the bench.

Now, after an enjoyable summer break with family and friends, a refreshed, rejuvenated and reinvigorated Ings says he retains strong belief in his own ability, is more than ready to show what he is capable of and is aiming to return to the prolific form that has served him well throughout his storied career.

Danny Ings

“I spent the first few weeks of summer away with my family and went over to Mallorca with my wife and son, which was brilliant,” said Ings, who is part of the group currently away in Kitzbühel, Austria, on a week-long training camp.

“I spent the last week in Ibiza where I met my friend and we did quite an intense training camp leading to coming back in to West Ham. I had a really good summer and got all the work that I needed to in and spent enough time with my family. 

“It’s been brilliant [pre-season camp in Austria] to be honest, and It’s great to be back. During the season you are looking forward to a break, but then towards the end of the break you are wanting to get back in and get stuck in again. We’ve settled in well here, had some good early sessions and the mood overall is really positive.

“It’s been great [working under new Head Coach Julen Lopetegui and his coaching staff]. You can see from day one that they are wanting to implement all of their stuff on the training pitch and it’s not just a case of getting your trainers on and going running. There is a lot of ball work and we’ve started tactical work already, so it has been a really good start and I think everyone is really excited for what lies ahead. 

“I’ve really enjoyed the style he has implemented so far, but it is only early days and there is still a lot of time working together to come, but what I’ve seen so far has been fantastic and I think everyone thinks the same. It is a new learning curve for all of us and one we are looking forward to.”

Ings spoke on the personal difficulty of last season, when he made only seven starts for West Ham in all competitions, but he is embracing the clean slate and believes he still has a lot to offer in Claret and Blue. 

Through it all, Ings has remained professional and ready, worked with a fitness coach to maintain his match fitness and believes he is in the correct mindset to ensure he is now in the right shape and frame of mind to face this new challenge.

I want to put the shirt on as much as I can, I want to help the team and I want to show the fans what I really can do and what I am capable of
Danny Ings

“Looking forward, I’m really excited,” Ings confirmed. “I’ve found it quite difficult since I got here, but I’ve also loved every minute of it as we have got a really, really good group here.

“We won the [UEFA Europa] Conference League together and had some really good experiences, but from a personal point of view, I want to put the shirt on as much as I can, I want to help the team and I want to show the fans what I really can do and what I am capable of. 

“It’s a fresh slate for everyone and I have looked after myself throughout the summer and am looking forward to the challenge. 

“One hundred per cent [I feel in the right mindset]. I always try to keep myself in the best possible shape, and there were times over the last 12 months where I found that a little bit difficult because I wasn't getting loads of game time.

“It is really difficult to stay in match fitness shape, but for understandable reasons I didn’t get the game time I wanted, however, you have to accept that as a player and keep working hard and wait for opportunities.

“I felt towards the back end of last season I had a few cameos where I did quite well. I’ve been training with a friend of mine away from the Club for the last year to try to keep myself in the best shape for this pre-season and I’m excited to see where it takes me.

“It’s been frustrating for me, but it has also been frustrating for the fans as well because I’ve not played much and not been able to score goals. But I know I am still capable of that, so hopefully I will get more opportunities to try to showcase myself and show the fans that I really do care and really do want to be successful here at West Ham. 

“You have to enjoy your football. If you don’t then you are never going to reach the sort of level you want to be at. For me, despite not playing, I still enjoyed being around the lads, enjoyed being part of the team and tried to help as much as I can whether that is on or off the pitch. I just love to train with a smile on my face."

Danny Ings

Ings, who is ranked joint-64th on the Premier League’s all-time individual goalscorers’ list with 71 goals, insists he is full of confidence and has enjoyed helping new signings Luis Guilherme, Wes Foderingham and Maximilian Kilman settle into their new surroundings.

“I think I am quite a confident person," Ings said. "I’ve had a really enjoyable career and had some really good moments, while also having some that haven’t been so good. I’ll never lose my confidence in own ability because I’ve been in this league for a good number of years and know what it takes to be at this level. 

“I definitely haven’t [shown my best form yet], but hopefully this season I can try and give back to the fans for sticking by me. I know towards the end of last season I built quite a good relationship with them and hopefully that continues this season. 

"I think my favourite thing about pre-season is a combination of everything. It’s about seeing all the lads again after weeks off, and it’s also about seeing the new signings and helping integrate them into the team alongside getting back out and playing football.

“I’m really excited for the season as it’s a fresh challenge now with the new boss and all of his staff coming in, but it is a challenge we are looking forward to as a team. For me personally, my ambition is to play a lot more than I have done to this point and help the team as much as I can."

Following the Austria trip, the Hammers will cross the Atlantic Ocean to the United States to take on Premier League rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers and Crystal Palace in two exciting fixtures as part of the inaugural Stateside Cup, and Ings is relishing that particular opportunity. 

He added: "We are all really looking forward to it [Sunshine State Tour]. It is a time of year where we all get to go away together as a group, help integrate new signings, get in the sunshine, play football and get ourselves prepared for the season ahead. These sort of trips are always fun and we are really excited.”