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Ince joins Fulham on loan

Fulham have agreed a deal with Brighton and Hove Albion to take defensive midfielder Rohan Ince on a season-long loan.

The 23 year-old, who was born in Whitechapel, spent ten years with Chelsea before leaving our London neighbours permanently in February 2013 following a successful trial with the Seagulls. Ince, who had previously enjoyed a loan spell at Yeovil, quickly became a firm favourite at the AmEX Stadium, with his pace and tough-tackling ability. He helped Albion reach the play-offs, making 33 appearances and winning the club’s Young Player of the Year award. He made 38 appearances for the club last season and his stunning strike in a League Cup victory over Swindon Town was named Brighton’s goal of the year.

A combination of injuries and Brighton’s excellent form limited Ince, who is the third cousin of former Manchester United and England midfielder Paul, to just ten league appearances during this campaign and he has opted to return to the capital in search of first team football. Fulham’s holding options in midfield have been restricted by injuries to Ryan Tunnicliffe and Sakari Matilla and head coach Slavisa Jokanovic is expected to put his new signing straight into the first-team squad for Saturday’s game against Derby County.

Brighton manager Chris Hughton has been speaking about the deal:

After two seasons in which he has been a regular in the side, Rohan has found first-team opportunities limited this season, with Dale Stephens and Beram Kayal in such fine form, and also now following the arrival of Steve Sidwell. 

At his age and the stage he is at in his career, we want to see him playing regular football, and this loan move gives him the chance to do that in the Championship. It’s a good move for Rohan and both clubs, as it is one which will allow him to continue the progress he has made in recent seasons.

Fulham in Ince talks

Fulham are in advanced talks to sign Brighton defensive midfielder Rohan Ince on loan for the rest of the season, according to reports.

Sheffield Wednesday appeared favourites to sign the combative midfielder earlier this week, but it appears as though Fulham will win the race to acquire the 23 year-old after holding talks with the player and his agent.

Ince has struggled to hold down a place in Chris Hughton’s starting line up this season, making only 12 appearances for the Seagulls this campaign.

The Cottagers are looking to strike up a loan deal for the versatile midfielder as they are currently under a transfer embargo so can therefore not make permanent signings.

Ince, who is the nephew of the famous Paul Ince, joined the Chelsea’s academy aged seven and signed a professional contract with the Blues in 2010. He failed to make a single first-team appearance at Stamford Bridge and opted to join Brighton in 2013.

Ince broke into the starting line-up after impressing Oscar Garcia and starred as the Seagulls snuck into the Championship play-offs. But Ince is understood to be frustrated after making just fifteen appearances for Albion this season and Hughton is happy to let him get games under his belt on loan.

Fulham agree fee for Ince

Sky Sports are suggesting that Fulham have agreed a fee of £250,000 for Liverpool youngster Thomas Ince.

Ince, the son of the former Liverpool and England international Paul, has also been linked with a loan move to Championship side Blackpool. The 19 year-old has just made one first-team appearance for Liverpool as a substitute in their League Cup defeat to Northampton last season and spent three months on loan at Notts County, managed by his father.

Ince, who can either play as an attacking midfielder or out wide, has impressed with Liverpool’s youth and reserve sides. Reports suggest that two other Premier League sides are also interested in signing Ince, who could become another Liverpool youngster to join Fulham in recent years after the arrival of Chris Buchtmann, Lauri Dalla Valle and Alex Kacaniklic.

Paul Ince on Roy Hodgson

There’s a very good article in today’s News of the World, which isn’t a sentence I often type. Paul Ince, who played under Roy Hodgson at Inter, has shared some very revealing insights into the way the Fulham manager works.

It’s well worth a read. For me, the most interesting passage comes when Ince, regarded as something of a strong character, admits that he and his fellow players wouldn’t catch Roy’s eye when he was in full flow:

PLACID, intelligent, articulate. All words that you associate with Roy Hodgson and trotted out by those people who don’t really know him so well.

But if you’d sat in a dressing room and seen him peeling the paint off the walls at half-time, you’d get a better picture of the man I’d have no hesitation in naming Manager of the Year.

I’ve never seen anybody go quite as bananas as Roy – and I include Fergie in that.

He might not get the hairdryer out right in your face in the way Fergie does but grown men don’t dare catch Roy’s eye when he’s in full rant mode.

I was fortunate to work under him at Inter Milan for three years and it was a real education and insight into a great manager.

He came to Inter when the players ruled the dressing room and, in particular, Pepe Bergomi.

Bergomi was Mr Inter. He was the captain, had the ear of the president, went out for dinner with influential supporters and basically ruled the roost.

The problem was, Pepe was past it. He only got in the team through reputation, nothing else.

Roy saw that immediately and after he replaced Ottavio Bianchi as manager, the first thing he did was drop Bergomi.

Cue murder.

The fans went mad, there were huge inquisitions (mostly led by Bergomi himself) and all sorts of threats against Roy’s position.

But he held strong because he knew he was right.

He laid down a marker and would not be swayed even though he came under tremendous pressure. I admired that. It showed a man whose outward manner hid an inner strength and belief in himself.

We used to live fairly close to each other on Lake Como and there were many nights we’d have a meal together, Roy with his glass of red and big cigar, me listening and trying to soak up as much information and advice as I could.

It was because of Roy that I didn’t pack Inter in after a few months.

Bianchi was playing me on the left wing in a 4-5-1 formation but Roy switched to a 4-4-2, stuck me back in centre midfield and helped give me a football education I’ve never forgotten.

His CV was already packed with experience both at club and international level and he had a wisdom that rubbed off on players and gave him the immediate respect of even the biggest names. Training sessions were a joy, always fresh and packed with ideas you could easily take on board.

When he left Inter the president, Massimo Moratti, admitted that letting Roy go was the biggest mistake he made.

I see so many of the traits he bred at Inter in the current Fulham side.

They play to a system, they’re fantastically organised and they play for each other.

There are no egos or star names which lulls opponents into a false sense of security meaning they underestimate Fulham… and pay for it. I hear managers say there’s no pressure at a club like Fulham because there’s no real expectations.

Rubbish. The pressure to stay in the Premier League is immense because relegation could cost a club like Fulham so dearly. Then there’s the pressure of turning players who have been rejected by other clubs into better players through coaching and fantastic man-management.

Speak to somebody like Danny Murphy who was turfed out by Liverpool. Or Simon Davies. Or Bobby Zamora.

They will tell you Roy has improved them as players to the point Zamora is a real candidate for an England place.

You don’t beat the likes of Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus and Wolfsburg by a fluke.

You win because you’re a confident unit completely comfortable with the manager’s system and tactics, and you believe in yourselves.

Fulham are at the same stage of the Europa League as Liverpool without spending a fraction of Anfield’s budget. That says it all.

Roy is a real manager’s manager who never gets involved in controversy, just does his job properly and wins the respect of all his peers.

So while Carlo Ancelotti or whoever wins the title will always be mentioned as Manager of the Year, for me there’s only one winner… Roy Hodgson.