Factfile: Sam Clucas

23rd August 2017
First team

Sam Clucas should not take long to settle in at Swansea City. After all, he knows all about climbing from football’s lower reaches to the Premier League.

When it seemed his hopes of a career in the professional game had been dashed, the Swans’ newest recruit went to college and got a part-time job in a cafe at Debenhams.

Yet a decade or so later, he will play top-flight football with the Swans having impressed at the highest level with Hull City last season.

Many of the Swans’ finest servants in recent times have been players who were part of the club’s fight to get into the Premier League.

Now they have a new recruit who knows what it takes to scrap all the way to the top.

Clucas, who was born in Lincoln, signed for Leicester City as a 10-year-old.

A striker as a kid, he scored plenty of goals in a Foxes shirt but was released at the age of 16 because the club felt he was not big enough to make the grade.

Little did they know that he would eventually grow to be 6ft 2in tall.

For a while after leaving Leicester, Clucas could not find a club – despite having numerous trials – and hence he ended up making tea and coffee for a living.

A footballing lifeline came in 2009, when Clucas landed a trial at Lincoln City and then a one-year deal.

Yet after just one first-team appearance for his local team, Clucas was allowed to leave.

His next move, courtesy of another successful trial, was a scholarship at the Glenn Hoddle Academy in Spain.

This would prove to be a pivotal step in Clucas’s bid to prove his worth.

Having impressed Hoddle, he landed a move to Hereford United, who were then playing their football in the fifth tier.

And there began a remarkable rise through the English football pyramid for a player who has played on the wing but is now happiest in the centre of midfield.

After a couple of seasons at Hereford, Clucas made it into the Football League, as he joined League Two club Mansfield Town.

A fine season at Field Mill led to another transfer just over 12 months later, as he stepped up to League One by signing for Chesterfield.

Having taken the switch to the third tier in his stride, Clucas moved to Hull the following summer.

In his first season as a Tiger, Clucas helped Steve Bruce’s team win promotion from the Championship.

Despite climbing five divisions in five seasons, he immediately looked at home in the Premier League.

Clucas, who will be 27 next month, played in all but one of Hull’s top-flight games last season, scoring three goals.

His first strike in the top tier, at Leicester in March, meant he had scored in English football’s top five divisions – a feat which has also been achieved by Swans defender Alfie Mawson.

Clucas was on the pitch for every minute of the Humberside club’s three victories over the Swans – two in the league and one in the FA Cup – last term.

Now he will be fighting for the Swans’ cause.

Given his energy, his hunger and his technical quality, he should be a fine addition to Clement’s squad.