Scott's Wembley show will never be forgotten
SCOTT Sinclair etched his name into Swansea City folklore the moment he struck his Premier League promotion- clinching penalty at Wembley 17 months ago.
The 80th-minute goal sealed his hat-trick and gave the Swans a 4-2 victory over Reading in the Championship play-off final, securing their passage to the top flight.
Sinclair's three goals at Wembley are now likely to be recalled with a somewhat hazy delight by Swansea fans, and it was perhaps not until the opening weekend of last season when the magnitude of promotion sunk in.
Facing a preposterously talented Manchester City side who were to become Premier League champions, the Swans were given an unforgiving welcome to the top tier as Roberto Mancini's men won 4-0.
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Sinclair was one of Swansea's Premier League pioneers that Monday night last August but, tomorrow, he will be in the blue of the title holders when the teams meet again at the Etihad.
The 23-year-old joined City this summer, ending a memorable two-year stay at the Liberty.
Brendan Rodgers had made the talented but underachieving Chelsea prospect his major signing of the 2010 summer, investing what turned out to be a £1.5 million very well spent.
Sinclair's starring role in the Swans' promotion went far beyond his virtuoso Wembley display, as he finished the season as the club's top scorer with 27 goals.
The winger did not scale those same heights last term, although he still chipped in with a useful eight strikes as Swansea secured their Premier League survival with room to spare.
Speculation about Sinclair's future grew towards the end of the campaign, however, as he neared the final year of his contract.
Rodgers was eager to renew the 23-year-old's deal but, when the manager left to take over at Liverpool, there were nagging doubts Sinclair would follow the Northern Irishman through the Liberty exit. And when Manchester City expressed their interest in signing him, those fears suddenly came with a sense of inevitability.
After a summer spent with Team GB at the Olympics — which included another goal at Wembley — Sinclair eventually joined the Premier League champions for £6.2 million.
He has found first- team opportunities limited at Eastlands — understandable, perhaps, when others vying for a place on the left wing include Samir Nasri and World Cup winner David Silva.
Were Sinclair not lining up against his former team- mates tomorrow, he would probably have passed under most observers' radars.
In a squad which includes such stellar talents as Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure — as well as explosive characters like Mario Balotelli — it is difficult to stand out.
Sinclair has at least managed to do so off the pitch. Together with his girlfriend, ex-Coronation Street actress Helen Flanagan, Sinclair has moved into a Cheshire mansion which looks big enough to house several Premier League squads.
During their time in South Wales, the couple brought a sprinkling of celebrity stardust to an otherwise modest club.
On the field, Sinclair gave the Swans one of the finest days in the club's history and, even if he breaks his City duck tomorrow, that Wembley masterclass will never be forgotten.