Scott Hogan is determined to kickstart his claret and blue career after a stop start introduction to life at Aston Villa.
Since signing from Brentford in January, Hogan has been plagued by injuries that have limited his impact.
Hogan tumbled down the pecking order behind Jonathan Kodjia and Keinan Davis, but his confidence has been boosted by an Ireland call-up and he is keen to make up for lost time for club and country.
He is no stranger to setbacks – here’s the story of his career so far:
Hogan was born in Salford on April 13 1992.
He was a schoolboy at Everton for two years and had a series of failed trials at Manchester United.
As a teenager he was studying for a BTEC Sport qualification at Salford City College when he was invited to join Rochdale, but left before he made a first team appearance.
He was only earning £30 a week expenses and because his mates away from football were earning much more, he admitted losing focus and passing up a chance to prove himself and earn a professional contract at Spotland.
THE FACTORY FLOOR
After leaving Rochdale he found work in the real world, combining his jobs with part-time non league football.
“I worked in warehouses, order picking, in a chemical factory – it got to the stage where I would try to fit in two half-hour toilet breaks just to break the day up!” Hogan told the Independent .
“I just don’t want to go back to a 9-5 job,” Hogan said. “I have done it before and I don’t want to do it again.
“I never want to do it again, which is why I will always fight for everything I have got in football.
Hogan made a name for himself in non league. He was at Halifax, but found himself in the shadow of a certain Jamie Vardy.
Stocksbridge Park Steels, another of Vardy’s former clubs, was a place where Hogan also furthered his reputation as a goalscorer, and he had spells at Woodley Sports, Mossley, Ashton United and Hyde.
His goal exploits caught the eye of Rochdale boss Keith Hill again and after some umming and aahing, the Spotland boss gave him a fresh chance.
It paid off. In 2013-14, Hogan scored 19 goals in 40 appearances for Dale, including his first, 14 minutes into his debut, a 3-0 win over Hartlepool United in League Two.
Many clubs were taking notice of him by now, including Hull City, who were then managed by Steve Bruce.
While others hesitated, Brentford’s Mark Warburton swooped for him in the summer of 2014, snapping him up for a reported £750,000.
Hogan’s pre season was disrupted by an ankle injury and it was to get worse.
After coming on as a 67th minute substitute in a 2-0 Championship win at Rotherham (his second cameo after a cup debut), he lasted just 16 minutes, sustaining anterior cruciate ligament damage to his left knee.
He had surgery in September 2014, but experienced further agony the following April when he snagged his foot in the turf in training, suffering the same injury again and going under the knife for a second time.
Hogan has spoken of his gratitude for the support Brentford gave him during his injury ordeal, twice sending him to Philadelphia to recover with with conditioning coach Bill Knowles as well as offering him a contract extension.
“Brentford offered me an extra year when I first did my knee, to make up for the year I had lost,” he said.
“They have looked after me, sent me to Philadelphia twice for treatment and paid for me to go away. I haven’t had to use my own money, so I do feel a big debt to them.
He eventually returned to action after an 18-month lay-off in March 2016 and scored seven goals in four matches at the back end of the 2015-16 season, including three braces.
Hogan rattled in 14 goals for Dean Smith’s team before Villa came knocking.
WHO WANTED HIM
Hogan, as is the case with most goalscorers, has been in demand.
When he was at Hyde, he had a trial with Villa’s fierce rivals Birmingham City, then managed by Lee Clark, just before he joined Rochdale.
Peterborough had a bid accepted for him while he was at Rochdale and Leeds United also expressed an interest in him, but he stayed put until the Brentford move materialised.
In January before Villa landed him, he looked set to join West Ham, but the Hammers gave up after a series of rejected bids, while West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace also made late enquiries.
WHAT BRUCE SAID
“What attracted me to him is that journey he’s had, like Jamie Vardy.
“It’s one of those were he’s had it tough, it didn’t go his way when he was younger, he thought his way was blocked.
“He had to go down to non league and work his way back up. Even when he is doing well and goes to Brentford he has to recover from a serious knee injury.
“This year he’s been terrific and I think hell be a big favourite of the supporters. He’s quick, dynamic and is a good finisher.”
Hogan’s brother Liam is also a footballer. He is a central defender for Salford City in the National League North.
The pair played non league football together for Woodley Sports and Halifax.
Liam, who is three years older than Scott, said: “I had the physical advantage and I’d always go around telling everyone I was the better player, as you do.
“I think that helped him rise to the challenge. If I beat him in a penalty shoot out or keepie uppie competition, he’d get working so that he could beat me back.”
They made their Football League debuts – Scott for Rochdale, Liam for Fleetwood Town – on the same afternoon, August 3 2013.
Their parents tend to alternate, watching one brother one week and the other the next.
Source : BirminghamMail