Paul Newman: Swansea benefit from the Rodgers and Sinclair bond

The Football League Column: 'He needed to find a home. I convinced him that this club would really benefit him'

Scott Sinclair is only 21, but you could be forgiven for thinking he was a hardened veteran. The flying winger, who has represented England at Under-17, Under-18, Under-19 and Under-20 level, made his League debut six years ago and has already played for nine different clubs.

It was at Bristol Rovers, where he played from the age of nine, that Bath-born Sinclair's talent quickly became evident. Chelsea signed him in 2005, after he had made just two appearances for Rovers. A tribunal eventually ordered Chelsea to pay Rovers compensation of up to £750,000.

In five years at Stamford Bridge Sinclair made a grand total of five Premier League appearances. He went on loan, first to Plymouth Argyle, where he scored a wonder goal after a run from his own penalty area that became a YouTube favourite, and soon became a football nomad, pitching his tent at Queen's Park Rangers, Charlton, Crystal Palace, Birmingham and Wigan. By the end of his sixth season he had made just 72 League appearances, 40 of them as a substitute.

There were clubs keen to sign him, but Sinclair had a long contract and it was only this summer that he decided it was time to move on. Some eyebrows might have been raised when the winger signed for Swansea City, who paid an initial £500,000 that could rise to a club record £1m, but the key to Sinclair's switch was his new manager.

Brendan Rodgers, who moved to the Liberty Stadium in the summer after failing to last more than six months at either Watford or Reading, was youth team and reserve team manager at Chelsea in Sinclair's first three years there. Not only did he have a rapport with Sinclair but he also convinced him that Swansea's style of play would bring the best out of him. Playing a lone striker, Rodgers encourages Sinclair to push forward, deep into the opponents' half.

How right Rodgers was. Sinclair has been a key performer in Swansea's surge to third place in the Champion-ship, scoring seven goals in 11 League appearances and adding four more in the Carling Cup. Crucially, he has finally found a club where his first-team future looks assured: before October was out he had already started more League matches than at any of his previous clubs.

"Maybe at 21 he needed to find a home," Rodgers said. "He'd had a number of opportunities to go to other clubs but I spoke to him over the summer and convinced him that this was a club, because of the style that we play, that would really benefit him. If he was playing in a 4-4-2 at another club he would be 25 metres behind where he starts now. I just felt that he could come to Swansea and concentrate on his football for two or three years at a club and with a manager who knows him inside out. So far it's been the perfect fit for him."

On Saturday at Crystal Palace Sinclair was anonymous at times, but he scored the crucial early opening goal in an emphatic 3-0 victory, ghosting in at the far post to convert a cross from the opposite flank.

"Even if he has quiet games where he doesn't have a lot of the ball he always arrives in the areas to score goals," Rodgers said. "When you're a manager or coach you tell your players that when the ball comes in from the opposite side, make sure your winger or wide player is in there on the back post."

While Sinclair has been the headline act, plenty of others have contributed to Swansea's fine start to the season. Rodgers has added Neil Taylor, a Welsh international signed from Wrexham, to his options in defence and Swansea have again looked rock-solid at the back.

Only Newcastle let in fewer goals in the Championship last season and only Queen's Park Rangers have a better defensive record this time. Swansea go to Cardiff, the Championship leaders, next Sunday having not conceded a goal in more than seven and a half hours of play. With Cardiff's Jay Bothroyd suspended, Sinclair might even finish the day on top of the division's goalscoring charts. Some achievement for a player who had scored just 10 goals in his first six seasons in the game.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Kim Sears is reported to have directed abuse at Berdych
tennis
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee