Tom Ince: England 'flows through Ince blood' says Derby winger

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Derby move the perfect fit - Ince

Tom Ince says playing for England "flows through the blood" in his family but he had to end his Under-21 career to focus on club football.

Derby County's on-loan Hull winger, 23, turned down the chance to play for the England Under-21 side in March.

"I put my country to one side to get a bit of confidence back, but people were very quick to judge," Ince, son of Paul, told BBC East Midlands Today.

"England flows through the blood in the Ince family. I never snubbed England."

Paul, who publicly backed his son's decision, was most famous for spells with Manchester United, Inter Milan and Liverpool and widely acknowledged as one of England's best midfielders of the 1990s.

"My old man played 56 times [for England] and captained his country," said Ince who also referred to the game in Rome in 1997, where his bandaged and bloodstained father famously helped Glenn Hoddle's side earn a battling 0-0 draw against Italy to qualify for the World Cup.

"I never snubbed playing for my country. All I have done is put it to one side.

"But my sole aim is club football and to concentrate on that. I felt people forget I am 23 years of age now and I am not 20, 21 and I have 21 caps for the 21s. I felt it was time for me to move on."

Ince has scored 11 goals in 17 games for Derby since joining on loan in January.

Tom Ince
Ince only started nine games for Hull this season before joining Derby in January

He has made a big impact at the iPro Stadium, helping the Rams to stay in the Championship play-off places, even though their form has dipped and they dropped out of the automatic promotion race.

Ince's resurgence has been a welcome relief after a tough time since joining Hull last summer.

He only made 13 appearances for the Tigers this season and a loan spell with Nottingham Forest also saw him barely play.

"I had a bit of an up-and-down year and I felt like if I could get my club football back on track then everything else would take care of itself," Ince added.

"If you are playing well for your club you get picked for your country. It is a simple as that.

Tom Ince
Ince has won 21 caps for the England Under-21 side and also represented his country at U17 and U19 level

"I look at Premier League players now who get called up. Harry Kane gets picked because of what he is doing for Tottenham and I have put my country to one side to do what I do for Derby."

Ince said working with Derby head coach Steve McClaren had been "fantastic".

"He coached my old man," Ince added. "I suppose I get it everywhere I go at the minute. How is your old man? Yeah, yeah he is great. What about me? Yeah whatever!

"It is a crazy thing but [Steve is a] fantastic manager and fantastic person who has allowed me to express myself and to do what I do. The club brought me here for what I do and when you get a manager who believes in you when you are a forward player it helps breed confidence."

The Rams will be certain of a play-off spot if they earn a home win over Reading on Saturday.

But they can be caught by both Brentford and Wolves if they fail to win.

Ince said his team were fully focused on reaching the play-offs for a second successive season.

"It is an exciting feeling but not a nice one," he said.

"You would like to be done and dusted and play Reading having had no nerves but we have good players in this side to take it as it comes.

"We don't treat this like a do-or-die situation. We have been calm all week. We know what we need to do. We know what we need to get and that comes by playing football and comes with not doing anything different."

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