Scott Sinclair has been a hugely influential player at Parkhead. Perhaps, his time at Celtic has been the most impressive one of his career. For a player who has had spells at clubs like Birmingham City, Plymouth, Manchester City, Aston Villa and Chelsea, that isn’t a small thing to boast about for the Hoops.
During his time at the club, Sinclair has played as many as 166 times. In this period, the Englishman has scored 62 times for the club and has racked up a tally of 34 assists.
He was one of Brendan Rodgers’ most important players during the current Leicester boss’ tenure. Last season, Sinclair had featured 55 times in all competitions and scored 17 times, assisting six times as well. His numbers were even better in the 2017-18 campaign, contributing to 35 goals in total.
But this season, he finds himself on the fringes under Neil Lennon. The former Bolton boss had played under him last season, but a lot has changed this season.
Should Neil Lennon include Scott Sinclair in his first-team?
Sinclair has played just six times in all competitions for the Hoops so far, failing to nail down a place despite having scored twice. One of those goals came in the club’s Champions League first-round qualifying game against Sarajevo in a 3-1 win away from home. The second goal came in Sinclair’s 26-minute cameo against Partick Thistle, who took a 5-0 loss in the quarter-finals of the League Cup.
The fact that he has scored two goals is a source of encouragement. It shows that he isn’t as bad a player as many can make him out to be, considering he’s far from a part of the first-team under Lennon. There is no drop in quality. If there is, it is pretty minor and he’s still very much there.
But it is the Celtic’s loan capture of Mohamed Elyounoussi in the summer that has seen Sinclair become a fringe player. The Norwegian has been one of Celtic’s best players this season, playing 12 times in all competitions. Despite playing less, Elyounoussi has contributed to as many as 13 goals.
The Southampton loanee has been a regular on the left, playing in Lennon’s 4-2-3-1 on a consistent basis. He has often played up front in the Europa League- a sign of how versatile a player he can be.
It is his versatility that hasn’t helped Sinclair. Rodgers too had played a 4-2-3-1 on a regular basis last season, with Sinclair playing on the left and using his pace constantly. He had done the same in the 2017-18 campaign, often playing up front or in the attacking midfield position here and there. That is very similar to Elyounoussi’s usage.
His current deal runs out at the end of the season, with clubs like Derby being linked with a move for Sinclair. The way the situation is, it is tough to see how he will sign a new deal. But the player has done a lot for the club to not be in this position. Indeed, at the age of 30, he has to play more. If not, he has to play a bit more regularly in the second half of the season as a mere means of paying respect to him.
As the season wears on and games come thick and fast, the £3.6million-rated attacker will prove to be a very reliable option.