Ince takes pride in unity

  • Last Updated: November 13 2012, 8:17 GMT

England Under-21s winger Tom Ince is proud of the team's unity in Serbia last month as he looks forward to the reception he and his international team-mates will receive at the home of his club Blackpool on Tuesday night.

Tom Ince: Glad England stuck together

Tom Ince

16. Tom Ince

Title Number
Appearances 3 (4)
Goals 0
Assists 0
Yellows 0
Reds 0
*Current Season

Ince was part of the Young Lions side that won 1-0 in Krusevac on October 16 to advance to next summer's Euro 2013 finals in Israel with a 2-0 aggregate triumph.

The qualifying play-off second leg was overshadowed by clashes between players and staff of both teams after Connor Wickham's stoppage-time goal and alleged racist abuse from the stands towards England players, while there were also missiles thrown.

Stuart Pearce's side return to action for the first time since then with Tuesday night's friendly against Northern Ireland at Bloomfield Road, and asked ahead of the game if the previous England Under-21 outing had been the most hostile atmosphere he has ever experienced in his career, Ince said: "Personally, as a player, yes. But although it maybe wasn't a great experience, it was nice to know that I have experienced that kind of football in that country.

"We knew it was going to be hostile, but we all went out there together, stood strong, helped each other and we were with each other 100%."

He added: "There is not one person who would want to have to deal with that situation again and you just have to make sure you are in the right frame of mind when those situations do come.

"I think everyone in an England shirt did that."

Pearce trusts UEFA - who have charged the Serbian and English Football Associations over the behaviour of their players and the former for the alleged racist chanting, and whose control and disciplinary body will convene on November 22 to deal with the case - to make the "right and proper decision".

Asked about punishments he might want to see given to Serbia, Ince said: "It's not down to us as players to speak about that.

"If they get a fine then great - if not, then it is not going to change how us players play.

"For every black player who has experienced that, or was out there in Serbia, it's not a great feeling, of course.

"But we're footballers, we do what we do on the pitch and our main concern was getting that 1-0 win."

Having kept his place in a much-changed squad from the Serbia game, Ince is relishing the prospect of playing international football at Bloomfield Road tonight.

"It's great to have it up in Blackpool," Ince said.

"It's a fantastic place which has seen great success over the years, and I'm sure it will be a good atmosphere at Bloomfield Road."

The 20-year-old, son of former England captain Paul Ince, has risen to prominence since joining the Seasiders from Liverpool in 2011.

He is being linked with a move to the Barclays Premier League, although Ince insists his focus for now is on Blackpool.

"I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for Blackpool," Ince said.

"I've been given the opportunity to play week in, week out at a very high level in the Championship.

"It is flattering to have all that interest. It's great - it shows you are playing good football and are in good form.

"But at the moment my focus is on playing for Blackpool."


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