Finding his feet in the big league

AP

England under-21 international, Scott Sinclair, hardly had any first-team opportunities at Chelsea. But his move to Swansea in 2010 has seen him hit a rich vein of form. By Pete Thompson.

Scott Sinclair believes he was never given a chance to prove himself at Chelsea but the Blues' loss has been Swansea's gain.

The England under-21 winger joined Chelsea from Bristol Rovers back in 2005 at the age of just 16 after breaking into the Rovers first team.

But first-team opportunities were few and far between for the Bath-born youngster and after several loan spells he decided it was time to leave Stamford Bridge on a permanent deal in the summer of 2010.

Sinclair told ‘The Independent': “Do I believe I got a fair crack at the whip there (Chelsea)? No, not completely, I had five or 10 minutes here and there and people say I had the chance to prove myself in that time. But I think you need a run of games and I suppose with world-class players there that wasn't going to happen. Also, I played under five managers there and that didn't help.”

Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers, who worked with Sinclair at Chelsea, came knocking and the pacy winger wasted no time in completing his switch to the Liberty Stadium.

That proved to be a shrewd decision as Sinclair immediately endeared himself to Swans fans with some outstanding performances, as well as being a regular goal scorer.

Sinclair played a key role as Swansea secured promotion to the English Premier League for the first time, scoring a hat-trick in the play-off final against Reading last summer.

The 22-year-old has also impressed in the first few months of the EPL season, but his road to becoming an established top-flight player has been longer than was expected.

After making his Bristol Rovers debut, Sinclair caught Chelsea's eye and he moved to the capital for an initial fee of GBP200,000.

Sinclair made his first appearance for Chelsea against Wycombe in a League Cup semi-final in 2007.

He then joined Plymouth, a Championship club at the time, on a month's loan and, after returning to Stamford Bridge, started against Manchester United at the end of the season before suffering a setback as he broke a metatarsal.

Despite that blow, Sinclair was awarded a new four-year contract in the summer of 2007 and returned to score his first goal for Chelsea in a League Cup victory over Hull.

Another loan move followed in November when he joined QPR and later in the season he also had spells with Charlton and Crystal Palace.

After being given limited opportunities by Jose Mourinho and Avram Grant, Sinclair hoped the arrival of Luiz Felipe Scolari in the summer of 2008 would lead to more playing time.

But he was loaned out yet again in January 2009, with Birmingham becoming his latest club, and he spent the remainder of the season at St Andrews.

That summer another new manager arrived at Chelsea in the form of Carlo Ancelotti, but it was the same old story for Sinclair and he was loaned to EPL rivals Wigan for the season.

Sinclair had more opportunities with the Latics, but he was still not a regular starter and took the decision to drop down to the Championship in the summer of 2010.

Swansea paid an initial fee of GBP500,000 to take him to the Liberty Stadium and Sinclair proved to be one of the signings of the summer.

Swans boss Rodgers clearly knows how to get the best out of Sinclair and he terrorised Championship defences and capped a magnificent season by scoring a hat-trick at Wembley to send the Welsh club into the EPL.

Sinclair played for England under-21s in the European Championships in the summer and has further impressed for the Swans in the EPL.

Rodgers' side have made a good start to life in the top flight and it would be no surprise to see Sinclair make the step up to the England squad at some point.

Chelsea spotted his potential, but it is Swansea who are reaping the rewards of his undoubted talent.

Being unable to establish himself at Chelsea under five different managers.

Sinclair is not married, but he is dating Helen Flanagan, an actress in popular soap opera Coronation Street.

It is not known what Sinclair's wheels are at the moment.

FACTFILE Name: Scott Sinclair Position: Winger Club: Swansea D.O.B: 25/03/1989 England Under-21 caps: 7 England Under-21 goals: 1

Moment to remember: Scoring a hat-trick in the play-off final against Reading to fire Swansea into the EPL

Moment to forget: Suffering a broken metatarsal against Manchester United during his time at Chelsea.

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