Date: 14th December 2012 at 5:30pm
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A RETURN to LFC for Tom Ince would represent a watershed moment for the club and the player.

For the club it would mark the end of Liverpool’s most wasteful transfer period in their history. The nadir of which would be signing a talented young player that they had previously let go for a minimal fee for a multi-million pound deal and no doubt a bigger contract

For Ince Jr., it would be a huge personal vindication.

He felt he should be getting games at Liverpool and with the hierarchy not willing to make any guarantees, Ince was determined to move to pastures new and forge himself a football career. Making a triumphant return to Merseyside would be a huge return for the price of following his instinct.

For many, the prospect of a return to LFC for Tom Ince is not one greeted with welcoming arms.

There are certainly justifiable reasons for this. The argument could easily be made that he is a selfish man who only wants to look out for himself and his own interests. He can also be viewed as someone who is dispassionate for Liverpool Football Club too. How many fans would walk away from any sort of career with LFC? On top of this, he is a reminder of the deep rooted problems that have engulfed LFC over the past few years.

But that is not the way that Ince should be viewed. Like any young player, he wanted to play games and he should not be criticised for taking what was a very brave move to Blackpool. Being a young player at LFC can be demanding and comforting at the same time. While there is increased pressure on fledgling footballers at top clubs, there is also the safety net of knowing that you get reasonably paid and you get to wear the badge of a team that is known worldwide.

Stepping out of this box to get games and play football is an admirable trait. After all, this is Ince’s profession. Anyone who takes a downward step in any occupation with a view to moving up further in the future is bold in my books. Taking such a risk is a daring decision to make but the rewards can be great.

Should Ince return to Liverpool, he will be guaranteed regular games. And while he would almost certainly be playing games for Liverpool under Brendan Rodgers had he have stayed, he would not quite be considered in the same light and he may not even be the same player.

The Championship is a tough league and a season’s experience in which he averaged a goal every 5 games is a great education for a young player. This season with 13 goals in 20 games so far, he has matured into a more ruthless player and has proved his ability to succeed as a first team professional.

Yet for Liverpool, this deal is not one that should be seen in the context of waste. Instead, he should be viewed as an exciting young talent who is capable of scoring goals. Furthermore, Blackpool offered Ince the opportunity he would never have been afforded at Liverpool.

Last season being behind the likes of Bellamy, Kuyt and Maxi, there is no doubt that the most he could have hoped for would have been a handful of games and even then I don’t believe he would have had that many. At Blackpool he got experience and confidence. He tested his talent and proved his worth and even though LFC have to pay a reasonable fee to get him back, the cost could prove worthwhile.

Shelvey’s loan spell at Blackpool worked great for all parties involved. He was a great force in the Championship, built up his confidence and provided Blackpool with an exciting talent for a short period. Returning to Liverpool, Shelvey was afforded games in the first team and looks like he could go on to be a very good player for Liverpool in the future.

Ince went a different route, he went alone and it has paid dividends. He has earned a return to the Premier League and if it happens to be back with Liverpool then I will not be disappointed. I will be pleased. I always thought that Ince looked like a talent in the youth team and I was sad to see him leave LFC in what appeared to be semi-acrimonious circumstances. However, if he does return to play in red then we will never have to speak of ‘the one that got away’ he will simply be the one that took the chance.

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