Ince takes his inspiration from United star Giggs
IT was reminiscent of Ryan Giggs – or 'Uncle Ryan' to Thomas Ince.
After seizing on to the ball on the left wing, Ince strode purposefully towards the penalty area. Keeping the ball under close control and faced with Bournemouth right-back Stephen Purches, he jinked left, then right. Purches stumbled and fell over. Leaving him in his wake, Ince carried the ball into the box and hit a low cross across the six-yard box that led to an own goal.
Ince, 18, has always tried to model himself on Giggs, who was a team-mate of his dad at Manchester United, so he is proud to have produced a moment of individual skill in the image of his boyhood hero in Notts County's FA Cup second round victory against the Cherries at Meadow Lane.
"All my life it's been Ryan," he said. "I have naturally played on the left since I was a kid. I've played in a lot of other attacking positions, but I always feel more comfortable on the left.
"Ryan is a close friend of the family. He lived with us when my dad was at Man United and stayed in the same room as me. He has always given me advice.
"He has been one of the best players in the world for years now and has achieved so much in his career. I have such a long way to go in mine but it was nice to do something like that."
Ince's impressive performance against Bournemouth came just three days after he scored the first goal of his career – a quite stunning 20-yard volley – to inspire a Magpies' league win against MK Dons at Meadow Lane.
He has now made six appearances since joining Notts on loan from Liverpool at the start of November and hopes to start against Walsall tomorrow.
Ince also wants to stay for the rest of the season to continue gaining the first-team experience he believes is vital to his ambitions to play in the Premier League for Liverpool and on the international stage for England in the future.
"Coming here has breathed fresh life into my career. I feel like I've been doing well and the challenge is to keep it up and do even better," he said.
"It's a lot different to being at Liverpool but I'm enjoying it and I have settled in at the club.
"Before I came here I was at Melwood training with the likes of (Steven) Gerrard and (Fernando) Torres, which was fantastic. I felt I was close to being involved in the first team but I felt I needed to get out to get some first-team experience. So far, it's been good for me.
"It's about getting into the real world and getting experience because not every player in the youth academy at Liverpool is going to make it into the first team.
"It's nice to be here to get a feel for the game. I've adapted well and the players have been fantastic with me.
"It was hard at the start because I didn't know any of them, but when you train with them and contribute positively to the team they accept you. I've bonded with the lads and so have the other young lads, Stephen Darby and Michael Woods, who are here on loan too."
After winning the League Two title last season, Notts are currently battling against relegation in League One, being in 18th place in the table, so every game is saturated with significance.
Ince is enjoying playing meaningful football.
"In the youth and reserves at Liverpool, you train all week and have a game on Saturday and it's nice because you play on fantastic pitches and wear the Liverpool kit, and you get all the new boots," he added.
"When you come to places like this and train hard for a game there is a real buzz come Saturday, because they are important games to play in.
"You are playing for points, or a place in the next round of the cup. Every game matters so much and I thrive on that."
Ince's progress with Notts is being closely monitored by Liverpool and England youth coaches.
"The Liverpool reserve manager has been a couple of times and he said I've been doing well. Noel Blake, the England U19s manager, said I've been doing well too, so that's all pleasing to hear," said Ince.
"For me, it's important to keep doing well for Notts County in every game I play, whether I'm playing the full game or I come on off the bench. I want to have an impact and make a contribution.
"I'm enjoying myself massively here and, if a deal can be done, I'd love to stay for the rest of the season."