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ESPN FC Posted by ESPN staff
Feb 4, 2014

Tom Ince wasn't ready for Liverpool

Former Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt believes that Luis Suarez can win the next Ballon d'Or after his recent form for club and country.

Former Liverpool midfielder Paul Ince says his son Tom turned down a move to Anfield in January as he was not “ready” to play for such a big club.

• Usher: Assessing the Reds' loan contingent
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• Keita: I snubbed Liverpool in transfer window
• Daly: Palace's January a smashing success

Ince Jr, 22, courted much attention during the transfer window, with the likes of Swansea, Stoke, Hull and Crystal Palace all vying for his signature.

In the end it was Palace who lured the England under-21 international away from Blackpool, signing him on loan until the end of the season, with a permanent deal likely then.

Tom Ince scores his side's first goal of the game
Tom Ince has scored three goals in 12 games for England under-21s. 

Liverpool also renewed a long standing interest in Ince, but his father revealed the winger opted against joining the Reds as he felt it would be better for his development.

"Liverpool were in but I don't think Thomas is ready to go to Liverpool yet,” Ince told Sky Sports.

"Brendan [Rodgers] has done very well there and he does play the kids but for his progression as a footballer it needed to be a Stoke, a Swansea, a Palace or a Hull at this point.

"Maybe in two or three years' time that might be a move for him."

Ince was one of five January signings for Palace alongside Wayne Hennessey, Scott Dann, Jason Puncheon and Joe Ledley, while Liverpool failed to bring in any new faces after deadline day talks with Dnipro winger Yevhen Konoplyanka broke down.

ESPN FC pundit Steve Nicol, who won five league titles with Liverpool as a player between 1982 and 1990, said he could not understand how a young player would turn down the opportunity to move to Anfield.

I found it a little surprising that Paul Ince felt his son Thomas shouldn’t go to Liverpool because he thought it would harm his development.

He said: "How many players get the opportunity to play at a club with Liverpool's stature? Not many. And how many have turned it down?

"Thomas is 22, I was 19 when I got my opportunity to join Liverpool. I could only see how it would help my development not hinder it. Personally, being able to train and play with the calibre of Liverpool players day in and day out would, without question, help him to become a better player.

"His decision to go on loan to Crystal Palace seems a strange one considering the type of football Palace will play under Tony Pulis. Surely going to Anfield would have made him a better all-round player rather than the blood-and-guts of a relegation battle at Crystal Palace.

"The only real positive would be that he's playing in the Premier League. That step up will undoubtedly test his game physically but will he be any the wiser whether he will have the mental strength to play for a big club like Liverpool."

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