Chance to get his career up and running

As he looks to find a way back onto the footballing radar it is easy to forget that, despite his many employers, Scott Sinclair is just 25 and far from a washed-up journeyman, writes Pete Evans.

“I’m ready to play some football” is the sort of staple quote you would expect to hear from plenty of new signings during the recent transfer window but rarely has that line been more pertinent than when it was uttered by Aston Villa’s latest loanee Scott Sinclair.

Playing football is not something the 25-year-old has had much experience of since leaving Swansea in 2012 for the lure of Manchester City. In three years at the Etihad the Englishman made just three Premier League starts while this season has seen him feature for just a meagre 25 minutes for the champions.

A loan move to West Brom last season was just as frustrating, with the winger used sparingly by the Baggies as his career continued to stay in neutral.

His new manager Paul Lambert has labelled the move to Villa as a chance to “get his career up and running” and with the deal including a permanent option for this summer, could this be the time for Sinclair to come out of the footballing wilderness?

“I think he’s a player with great unfulfilled potential,” Lambert said. “In hindsight, maybe for his own playing career, the Manchester City move was not a good one for him. But the opportunity to play for a club like that hardly ever comes to you and when it does, it’s very hard to turn it down. It will have been a great experience for him but now is the time he can kick on and get his career up and running.”

His former boss Manuel Pellegrini backed the former Swansea star to prove “what a good player he is” and Sinclair will now be tasked with bringing attacking flair and goals to an Aston Villa side who headed into February having scored just 11 Premier League goals in six months.

It is hard to believe, when watching Sinclair in a claret and blue shirt, that Villa have become the 12th club of Sinclair’s career. After featuring for Bristol Rovers at just 15, the Bath-born attacker was soon off to Stamford Bridge having received rave reviews for his youth-team displays.

Sinclair never really got close to making the breakthrough with Chelsea and made six loan switches before his fledgling career really kicked into gear when he joined Swansea in 2010. His Championship play-off final hat-trick that fired Brendan Rodgers’ Swans into the top flight in May 2011 took his tally for the season to a very impressive 27 goals.

Sinclair would then flourish in Swansea’s first ever season in the Premier League, scoring eight times as the Welsh side comfortably avoided relegation. A call-up to the Great Britain squad for the 2012 Olympics followed and Sinclair not only made four appearances but also got on the scoresheet.

That summer, Sinclair, one of English football’s rising stars, told Swansea he had no intention of penning a new deal in south Wales and it was no surprise when he was on the move to Manchester City just one game into the 2012/13 season. He would go on to become an example to some of the star players at the Premier League’s lesser sides that the grass is not always greener at the top clubs.

But as he looks to find a way back onto the footballing radar it is easy to forget that, despite his many employers, Sinclair is just 25 and far from a washed-up journeyman — something he was keen to stress.

“I believe I have my best years ahead of me,” he said. “This is a new challenge, a new chapter in my life. I’m still hungry to play football and I’m looking forward to getting started, hopefully playing every week and enjoying my football.”

FACTFILE NAME: Scott Sinclair POSITION: Winger

CLUB: Aston Villa (on loan from Manchester City)

D.O.B: 25/3/1989

Moment to remember: Scoring a Wembley hat-trick in 2011 as Swansea ran out 4-2 winners over Reading to clinch promotion to the Premier League for the first time in their history.

Moment to forget: Sent home from England Under-19 duty in 2007, along with Ryan Bertrand and Andy Carroll, for breaking a team curfew.

© PA Sport