As West Ham manager, John Lyall helped turn a young Ince from a rough diamond into a gem. Ince was a raw teenager when he made his debut at Upton Park in 1986, and from that day Lyall knew his young midfielder had a sparkling future in the game.
Lyall is no longer involved in football, but he watched Ince lead England to their finest hour in Rome and he was not surprised by the outcome.
"Paul had an infectious attitude to football from day one," Lyall said. "When everyone else had given up he would still be out on the training ground working and trying.
"Paul will go on and on because he is that sort of boy. He eats, sleeps and drinks football, he loves the game and has a great passion for it.
"To him it is not about material things, it is about playing the game and being involved in football, and I think he is someone who will become a coach and eventually a manager - that is Paul's destiny.
"The nice thing is that he has achieved the first part of his career, the playing side, and he'll be revelling in it because he knows what standards he wants to achieve.
"At West Ham we always felt Paul had great character and stood up for himself in the right way. He has been a little misjudged at times but he is a nice lad and it is credit to everyone at West Ham for the way he has turned out.
"He was looked upon as a special talent but he got no more or less than the rest of the lads and he readily accepted that.
"We have helped lots of people, but when a player achieves what Paul has done the majority of the credit has to go to him. He has taken some good advice but the achievement is his and he should be very proud of himself."
Lyall believes Ince's decision to leave Manchester United for two years in Italy with Internazionale has paid off handsomely, with a new level of skill added to his battling qualities.
"He went to Italy when a lot of people would have been content to stay with a great club like Manchester United. He chose to prove himself even more," Lyall added.
"When you are involved with any young player, you always hope their achievements will go as far as Paul's have done.''Reuse content