From Liverpool history maker to takeaway owner: Rodgers debutant has drastically changed career

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A nondescript League Cup third round win away to West Brom on 26 September 2012 has largely been forgotten about in the wider context of Liverpool’s modern folklore, but it was a night when a piece of club history (which still remains) was made.

Upon being introduced from the bench by Brendan Rodgers to replace Samed Yesil with nine minutes remaining, Jerome Sinclair became the youngest player ever to feature in a competitive first-team match for the Reds, just six days after his 16th birthday (BBC Sport).

He’d have no doubt been hoping it’d be the springboard towards a successful career at Anfield, but only four further senior appearances followed before joining Watford in 2016 (Transfermarkt).

Even that move didn’t go as planned, with the forward being loaned out five times before his contract expired in 2021. As noted by the Daily Express, the 26-year-old is no longer even in the professional game.

Just over a decade after making Liverpool history, Sinclair runs a fried chicken takeaway outlet in his native Birmingham, having been unable to earn a contract in football since his release by the Hornets two years ago.

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The former Red’s story illustrates just how difficult it can be to forge a lasting career in professional football, with clubs operating in the top two levels in England so often ruthless in letting go of players who they feel aren’t of the standard required to take them forward.

Sinclair was perhaps unlucky with the timing of his breakthrough, trying to make the leap from youth player to senior pro during a season when Rodgers had Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho to call upon.

Many other players who debut for Liverpool as teenagers but don’t establish themselves at the club go on to carve out lengthy careers in the Football League or outside of England, but unfortunately it didn’t happen for the youngest player to ever represent LFC.

Still, he can forever say with pride that he’s not only played for this great club but also earned a place in its esteemed history, and we wish him the very best with his future endeavours outside of football.

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