sport

Ince: Why would I want Monaco?

Crystal Palace goalscorer Tom Ince claims he has no regrets about snubbing European interest for a relegation battle with Crystal Palace.

The England Under-21 international attracted plenty of interest in the January transfer window, with Ligue 1 big-spenders Monaco in the hunt for the winger, while Premier League sides Hull, Stoke and Swansea all chipped in.

Ince opted for a loan move to Selhurst Park from parent club Blackpool, where his contract will expire at the end of the season, and the 22-year-old believes he has made the right decision.

The highly-rated attacking midfielder made his Palace bow on Saturday - scoring in the 15th minute as the Eagles beat West Brom 3-1 at home - and Ince is eager to make the most of his spell in Croydon.

"Why would I want Monaco when I have got Crystal Palace on a day like today," he told The Sun.

"It is great to have that kind of interest from big teams in Europe, but I needed to play in the Premier League and help Palace.

"It is a short-term deal and we will assess what happens in the summer. All I can do is keep working hard and see what happens."

Despite making a dream debut, reality dawned for Ince as he realised the step up in quality from the Championship to the flight.

Stronger

"I need to be physically stronger," he admitted. "I haven't had the luxury of Premier League training week in, week out, weight programmes and that sort of thing.

"I will gain strength but I know if the gaffer has that faith in me to play, sometimes it is what you do with the ball.

"And if I can get into the box and get shots off and put the ball into the back of the net, that's all that matters."

He added: "I have had a week of training and this game and it would be a lie if I said I didn't feel it.

"But in the weeks to come, I will get fitter and stronger."

Palace's revival under manager Tony Pulis has been well-documented and victory at the weekend took them three points clear of the relegation zone.

Ince has been impressed by Pulis' ideology and claims there is a distinctive game-plan, which is reaping rewards for the Eagles.

"The gaffer said 'we play counter-attacking football' and you saw that," he added.

"The amount of time we caught them on the break, we suck the pressure in then spring with the front four we have got.

"The gaffer knows what he wants to do. He has been here and done it before. The lads are pulling in the right way and this was a massive three points."