Ince, who grew up supporting West Ham, played his youth football for the Hammers and started his professional career there in 1984 before transferring to Manchester United in 1989. He made his senior team debut for England in September 1992, impressing in a 1-0 loss to Spain in a friendly.
For the match against the United States, Ince's impressive form and injuries to team leaders David Platt and Tony Adams convinced manager Graham Taylor to give the captain's armband to Ince. Unfortunately for England, the match did not go their way as the U.S. earned a 2-0 win with goals from Thomas Dooley (42') and Alexi Lalas (72'), who had come on as a substitute for Dooley in the 69th minute.
Ince left Manchester United for Inter Milan in 1995 and subsequently played for Liverpool, Middlesbrough, and Wolves before becoming player-manager of Swindon Town in 2006 and then Macclesfield Town in 2007. He retired from playing after the end of the 2006-2007 season and managed MK Dons for 2007-08 season.
In 2008, he again made history with a move to Blackburn Rovers, where he became the first black manager of a team in England's top flight.