Eight former Premier League stars who have been released by EFL clubs including Ince and Carroll

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While Manchester City were celebrating their Premier League title at the weekend, a former City forward was contemplating life without a club.

Scott Sinclair has been released by Preston and joins former Tottenham and England man Tom Huddlestone and ex-Liverpool striker Andy Carroll on the free agents list.

Planet Sport looks at where their careers have gone since their top-flight days, along with five other ex-Premier League men who find themselves club-less.

Tom Huddlestone

A man who can boast four England caps and 242 Premier League appearances to his name since making his debut in 2006, Huddlestone has built a reputation for his range of passing and thunderbolt of a shot as well as his surprising technical ability for a player of his height. After making close to 150 top-flight appearances for Tottenham, the midfielder joined Hull City where an FA Cup final appearance proved the highlight of a five-year stay. He rejoined Hull just after the start of the 2021/22 campaign following a spell with Derby but now aged 35, he will become a free agent in the summer when his contract expires.

Huddlestone made 173 appearances for the Tigers, scoring seven times.

Scott Sinclair

A tricky left-winger, Sinclair earned himself a move to the newly-minted Man City back in 2012 after impressing for Swansea City. Costing £8million, he was awarded the number 11 shirt.

He only appeared 13 times for the Citizens in the Premier League, however, and has since played for Aston Villa, Celtic - where he won nine trophies - and Preston.

Sinclair made 23 appearances for the Lilywhites this season but failed to register a goal or an assist and with his contract coming to an end, the club have decided that the time is right for the 33-year-old to move on.

Charlie Austin

Charlie Austin has been banging in goals in the Premier League and EFL for over 10 years now, but his time at Championship side QPR is coming to an end after he failed to earn a contract extension at the London club. Austin, like Huddlestone, has had two spells at his current club. The first came between 2013 and 2016 and included him hitting 18 goals in a Premier League season despite QPR finishing bottom.

He rejoined initially on loan in 2021 from West Brom, but made the deal permanent last summer. This season he has bagged just five goals in 34 games. Nevertheless, he has been linked with a host of clubs, including fellow Championship outfit Cardiff City and teams in MLS.

Steven Fletcher

Scotland international Steven Fletcher has broken two transfer records in the past, for Burnley and Wolves, but like others on this list he found himself surplus to requirements at his current club.

The striker will leave Stoke City, who finished 14th in the second tier in the 2021/22 season, after two years and 82 appearances.

At national level, the Shrewsbury-born attacker became the first Scottish player to score a hat-trick for the nation since 1969 when bagging a treble against Gibraltar in 2015.

Other former Premier League players leaving Stoke this summer include defenders Tommy Smith and James Chester.

Andy Carroll

Andy Carroll West Brom Birmingham City Apr22
Andy Carroll West Brom Birmingham City Apr22

A well-known face to football fans in England, Andy Carroll is probably best-known for flopping at Liverpool. Signed for £35million, his time at Anfield did not go well and he ended up joining West Ham, where he spent six seasons struggling with persistent injuries. Carroll featured for both Reading and West Brom on short-term contracts this season, playing 23 times and scoring five goals. This is the second time that manager Steve Bruce has released Carroll after letting him go from Newcastle just a year ago.

Wes Hoolahan

Many expected Wes Hoolahan to be a bit-part player when he ended a 10-year stint at Norwich to join then-League Two side Cambridge United in 2020. However, the playmaker dubbed 'The Irish Messi' played 66 times for the U's and scored eight times, helping the club to earn promotion to League One in his first season there. Hoolahan won 43 caps for the Republic of Ireland and also played at Euro 2016, while at club level the 40-year-old has played over 700 games. It's still not known yet whether Hoolahan will continue his playing career or hang up his boots.

Tom Ince

At the latter end of this season, Ince played on loan under his father Paul at Reading. A move to Reading on a permanent basis now seems the most likely destination for the winger who has been released by parent club Stoke City. Ince's career has seen him play for Liverpool, where he started his career, Blackpool, where he spent three seasons, Hull City and Huddersfield Town, where he made 33 of his 48 Premier League appearances.

However, he has regularly flattered to deceive. Maybe playing under his father at the Madejski will bring out the best in the 30-year-old.

Jay Spearing

We round off our list with the sole representative of a League Two club, Tranmere's soon-to-be-released Jay Spearing. The 33-year-old spent two seasons with the Merseyside club, featuring 75 times in league matches. Spearing has spent the vast majority of his career in the north-west of England after coming through Liverpool's academy and going on to play 30 times in the Premier League. After being bought by Bolton in 2013, Spearing has since gone on to play for Blackpool and Tranmere permanently as well as Blackburn on loan. The defensive midfielder has made over 450 club appearances, but will now have to find a new club if he wants to add to that tally.

The article Eight former Premier League stars who have been released by EFL clubs including Ince and Carroll appeared first on Planetsport.com.

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