Blackpool winger Tom Ince claims he is flattered by the interest in him from Premier League clubs, such as Liverpool and Manchester United, but insists he focus remains on performing for the Seasiders.
The 21-year-old was reportedly close to making a switch to former club Liverpool in January, while United and Tottenham Hotspur have also been linked with a move for him. Ince, who won this year's Football League Young Player of the Year, has now revealed that none of the clubs came close to landing him during the winter transfer window. The youngster also stated he would not try to push through a move in the summer as he believes timing and patience are key in transfers.
"I don't think any of the moves were close. It's great having that speculation and it's very flattering. To have teams of that magnitude saying you're a decent player, it gives me a smile and flatters me a lot," Ince said.
"For me though it's about putting my faith in Blackpool because without that club, my team-mates and the fans I wouldn't be Football League Young Player of the Year and the player I am now. My dream is to play at the top level and to achieve my ambitions, but it's all about timing and patience, so when you get to the top you are ready to go and not jumping too soon," the England U-21 star pointed out.
Ince, a Liverpool academy product, can operate in the centre or on the left side of the midfield. The player has been on fire for Blackpool this season, notching 18 goals and 11 assists from 36 Championship appearances. The youngster had joined the Seasiders in 2011, after failing to break into the Reds' first team. He has been a revelation at Bloomfield Road since then and has been attracting attention from a host of Premier League clubs for some time now.
The winger said he is delighted with the Young Player of the Year award but added he is keen to add to his personal success by steering Blackpool away from the relegation zone.
"I didn't expect this at all. I've enjoyed my season at Blackpool but this has capped it off nicely. There have been disappointments this season but we have a great group of lads, we all work for each other and we are where we are. We have to make sure we keep Blackpool in the Championship this season and then next season get Blackpool where they should be, challenging at the top," Ince stressed.