Trevor Sinclair on playing in World Cup, his Premier League career and joining Lancaster City

New assistant manager Trevor Sinclair leads the Lancaster City warm up ahead of the game against Barrow.
New assistant manager Trevor Sinclair leads the Lancaster City warm up ahead of the game against Barrow.

It’s June 7, 2002 at the Sapporo Dome in Japan.

Owen Hargreaves has gone down injured just over a quarter of an hour into England’s Group F World Cup clash with old enemies Argentina.

Trevor Sinclair during his Queens Park Rangers days when he played with Lancaster City boss Darren Peacock.

Trevor Sinclair during his Queens Park Rangers days when he played with Lancaster City boss Darren Peacock.

A 29-year-old Trevor Sinclair doesn’t think much of it as the late replacement in the squad for Danny Murphy takes in the atmosphere.

“I just remember thinking before the game, I’m 23rd man, I’m never going to get on,” said Lancaster City’s new assistant manager.

“So I was enjoying it, thinking it was amazing, it was just a proud moment.”

“And then when Steve McClaren turned round and started pointing towards me saying ‘come here’, I was looking behind me and thinking who’s he talking to?

“And then he said ‘you, come here’ and I didn’t have time to have nervous.”

Sinclair went on to impress in the rest of the tournament on England’s problem left-hand side before their exit in the quarter-finals against Brazil.

Fast forward 12 years and the now retired 41-year-old is sat in the main stand at the Dolly Blues’ near empty Giant Axe stadium after their 4-0 pre-season friendly defeat to Barrow.

He is engaging as explains the circumstances that saw him link up with former Queens Park Rangers team mate Darren Peacock in the Evo-Stik First Division North having moved to Lytham after returning from Dubai, his home since retirement in 2008.

“My boys are doing quite well with their football and to give them a chance we thought it was best to come back,” said Sinclair, who made 560 professional appearances and picked up 12 caps for England.

“I’d not spoken to Darren for quite a while and it was a just chance meeting with one of his friends who came and said hello to me at a coaching camp in Dubai.

“Originally I was thinking about playing, because I still keep fit and could still probably get round for one or two games.

“But I’ve been coaching myself for the last two or three years and I’m taking my B licence and I’ve always got on with Darren so I thought I’d ask the question.

“When we met for a coffee, just after he’d got back from Barbados, we ended up chatting about football for three hours and it was one of those where we agreed on a lot of things.

“Our upbringing under Gerry Francis at QPR was a big influence on both of our careers.

“I’m going to back Darren up, reassure the boys that we’re both on the same page and show them that if they want to be successful this is way to achieve it.”

It was Sinclair’s form for West Ham, where he played with a plethora of the country’s brightest young talents including Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand, that saw him get called up for England,

“All the superstars are just retiring now and have dominated the game domestically for the last 10 years and you could see they were going to be something special,” said Sinclair.

“It was one of those places that embraced me with open arms and I had a fantastic time there and had a great relationship with the fans.”

After his impressive World Cup Sinclair returned to the Hammers only for them to get relegated, leading to a £3.3 million move to boyhood club Manchester City in 2003.

Things however didn’t go as planned.

“It was stop-start,” said Sinclair.

“It started well and I scored the opening goal against Barcelona in a friendly and then against TNS in the Intertoto qualifier but then I just started picking up niggles and I was in and out.

“Out of all the clubs I played for at the start of my career, if I could have had a good time at any club it would have been Man City but as it was I probably had the worst time of my career.”

From Manchester City Sinclair spent an enjoyable 2007-2008 season in the Championship with a Cardiff team that included Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler and Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsay amongst others.

Following a brief appearance in their 1-0 loss to Portsmouth in the FA Cup final Sinclair decided that it was time stop putting pressure on a left knee that had been through five surgeries.

“We got to the FA Cup final and I didn’t really play in the game, I got on for the last five minutes, but it was just a fitting end for me,” he said. 
“I just thought it was best to walk away from the game with a smile on my face and still with my health to take into retirement.

“I’ve run a few marathons and I still tick over. Maybe I could have played for another year who knows but I don’t look back and think I should have carried on. 
“I had a fantastic career and I’ve helped raise my kids in Dubai.”