By Ashley Preece
One of English football’s forgotten souls – Scott Sinclair was once a dangerous, goal-scoring winger who would scare the life out defenders with his blistering pace.
However, despite his recent decline the 25-year-old is still regarded a hero amongst Swansea supporters for his glittering two-year spell with the club – the highlight being a Sinclair hat-trick at Wembley in the Championship play-off final victory over Reading in 2011.
He scored 22 times in Swansea’s promotion season and Sinclair continued his form into the Premier League, albeit the majority of his goals coming from the penalty spot.
Roberto Mancini liked what he saw and came in for him in the summer of 2012, paying the Swans £6.2 million.
The former Chelsea youngster had catapulted his way back to the top of the game and was starting to realise his potential.
However, fast-forward to 2015 and Sinclair’s City record reads just THREE starts and 19 substitute appearances in two-and-a-half seasons (he’s only played 25 minutes for City this season).
To say he lost his way would be an understatement. He was shifted on loan to West Brom last season to link up with his former coach Steve Clarke – but even he couldn’t get anything out of him.
Disinterested, complacent and still getting paid at the end of the day was probably his attitude. He also has ex-Coronation Street actress Helen Flanagan with him at home so who could blame him?
After eventually penning a loan deal with Villa until to the end of the season, the time is now for Sinclair, and based on what he told the club website, you get a feeling he wants to prove himself.
“I am still hungry to play football,” he said. “I’m looking forward to getting started, hopefully playing every week and enjoying my football.
“I believe I have my best years ahead of me. This is a new challenge, a new chapter in my life, and hopefully I can settle in as quickly as possible, have a good start and go from there.”
Did you know: Sinclair played 14 times for Birmingham City during a loan spell in 2009.
In the short-term it’s a massive gamble for Villa, and for manager Paul Lambert, who needs results because his side are staring down the barrel.
There’s also a lot of questions surrounding this deal, which is hardly surprising considering Sinclair has hardly kicked a ball in nearly three years, but at least the on loan ‘trial period’ protects the club from any long-term shortfalls.
Villa’s Wing Needs
Beggars can’t be choosers and Villa have been craving for an out-and-out winger all season – someone who stays wide, beats his man and can score a goal or two.
Andi Weimann, Charles N’Zogbia and Gabby Agbonlahor have all failed so far this season, but then again, are they proper wingers?
The man to potentially benefit from Sinclair’s arrival is Christian Benteke, who has looked out of sorts in recent weeks.
The Belgian craves good service into the box and feeds off it. Can Sinclair bring the best of him? Only time will tell.
And it’s time that will be answer here. On paper Villa have signed a young Englishman from the current champions. Sinclair has lost his way a little yes, but he earned the right to sign for one of the richest clubs in the world.
(pic: Sinclair and Cleverley celebrate a goal for Team GB)
It’s Arsenal and his former club Chelsea up next and Sinclair will want to announce himself back on the scene – a bit like an old face turning up unannounced at the Rovers Return Inn.
It’s time to raise some eyebrows again – this time for his performances on the football field and not for his girlfriend’s raunchy shoots in the tabloids.