A former Premier League defender who has worked under the likes of Glenn Hoddle, Martin O’Neill, Gianluca Vialli and Ruud Gullit visited the county to oversee training and pass on his experiences to footballers at Ellesmere College.
Frank Sinclair, who helped Chelsea to FA Cup glory in 1997 and League Cup honours the following season, shared his experiences of breaking into the professional game, having represented eight clubs during his career.
Head of football, at Ellesmere, Nigel Keogh, said: “It’s great to have these guest sessions at our academy, but especially having Frank involved is fantastic. What a great opportunity for the boys to gain knowledge, talk first-hand to someone who has worked hard to be successful in the game”.
Sinclair, spent eight years at Chelsea before Martin O’Neill took him to Leicester City for £2 million, where he was part of the team that won the 2000 League Cup, beating Tranmere Rovers 2-1 at the Wembley Stadium.
Sinclair said: “I can remember being in and around professional players at Chelsea from the age of 13 and the club has a tradition of supporting young players, so I have always tried to give something back to grassroots football. The education and football at Ellesmere is an excellent offer and the academy programme for youth football is so important nowadays”.
Despite wanting to represent England at international level, an opportunity to represent Jamaica arose in November 1997 following their qualification to the 1998 FIFA World Cup.
Sinclair stated: “I was playing the best football of my career and was still not involved with England. Jamaica came up and I thought an opportunity like that might never happen again so I took it”.
He was called up for the 1998 CONCACAF Gold Cup held in February, making his debut in the opening group stage match against Brazil which finished in a 0-0 draw at the Miami Orange Bowl. He was included in the Jamaica squad at the 1998 FIFA World held in France, making history as they became the first English-speaking Caribbean country to qualify for a World Cup.
Sinclair is now reflecting on his time working under some of the world’s best managers by forging a career in coaching. “Glenn Hoddle had the most impact on my career, purely for the time when he was Chelsea manager. When I was 21, Glenn had a great influence on me learning the game and his tactical awareness was incredible, it’s a shame he’s not working in the game and managing today”. He said.
Since completing his coaching badges Sinclair was appointed player-manager at Welsh Club Colwyn Bay, where he helped save the club from relegation and led them to twelfth place in the Conference North in his first season in charge. After resigning as player-manager for Colwyn Bay, Sinclair has gone onto work in youth football at Oldham Athletic and Stoke City and will be a guest coach on the Ellesmere programme.
Sinclair said: “If you can get recognised players involved in this programme, those who have been there, seen it and done it, it’s a massive influence on these students, because they want to get to know you. They will listen and feed off your every word. So with Richie Wellens, Jon Macken and myself being in and around these players, there’s a support network in place that gives them hope. But it’s not just about the training, tactics or technical advice, it’s also how we can help them outside of football, to potentially overcome any barriers that can get in the way of them progressing to the highest level as possible.”
The football programme at Ellesmere offers 14 hours of professional academy standard coaching each week, alongside subject-based qualifications including GCSEs, BTEC Diploma in sport, A-levels or the International Baccalaureate. The academy has attracted a range of players from Germany, Spain, USA, Mexico, Asia and the UK.
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