TOM INCE appreciates the perceived sins of his father mean a rough reception awaits whenever West Ham United are the opposition.
Dad Paul’s 1989 move from Upton Park to Manchester United – or, more specifically, him being photographed in a Red Devils shirt before the deal was done – is behind the hostility and the Huddersfield Town man is bracing himself for more of the same on Monday night. What the terrace critics will not do, however, is faze the 25-year-old.
“It will be fantastic to play at the new stadium,” said Ince ahead of the televised encounter. “Obviously, Upton Park is a little bit different. I took a lot of criticism there. Mine was not a popular name.
“That is part of football, one of those things. That is why I am glad it is at the London Stadium. There is a little bit more of an area between the players and the fans.
“I do keep telling him (dad Paul) that wherever I go, West Ham and Leeds is where I keep getting the same stick and it is not even my fault. You just have to take it on the chin.
“I always think: ‘If they are booing you, you must be doing something right’.
“If selected and I score, it will be a very nice moment for me. But I am looking forward to what will be a great game to be involved in.”
Town head to London on the back of a three-game unbeaten start – which yesterday earned manager David Wagner the Manager of the Month award for August – that has included a trio of clean sheets. Another on Monday will be a record for a newly-promoted club in the Premier League era.
That Ince was the only Huddersfield player to have previously experienced the English top flight makes those seven points all the more remarkable. As for Ince, he just wants to make a mark at this level after previous stints with Hull City and Crystal Palace.
“This was an opportunity that I couldn’t turn down,” said the former England Under-21s international about his summer £7.5m transfer. “It was a bit of a surprise, I didn’t think after the end of last season I would be leaving but it happens in football. Gary Rowett had different plans, wanted to make changes and wanted to generate money.
“This is a massive opportunity for me. I have had a couple of stints in the Premier League. I felt I wasn’t really given the chance to play games, it was too much in and out, and not getting in the squad. I felt that the criticism I got playing at this level was a bit harsh.
“But that is football. You take a lot of hits but get going again.”