IF anything sums up the extraordinary existence of the modern day Barclays Premier League footballer it is the strange case of Robert Snodgrass. This gallus Glaswegian’s career appeared to have moved to another level when he agreed a three-and-a-half year deal with ambitious West Ham as the January deadline day approached, the Londoners apparently selecting him to compensate for the departure of the talented but troublesome Dmitri Payet when the Frenchman moved to Marseille and finding £10.2m from down the back of the couch to lure him from Hull City.

After such an investment, you might have thought club and manager Slaven Bilic would be personally invested in the success of the deal. But it didn’t take long for Snodgrass to suspect something wasn’t quite right. Even before he had taken to the field for the first time, as substitute during a 4-0 home defeat to Manchester City, he had an inkling that his dream move was about to become a nightmare.

“I realised from the off that it wasn’t going to happen,” said Snodgrass. “I was coming on against Manchester City and he [Bilic] said ‘where do you want to play, on the left or right?’ I thought ‘You’ve just signed me and I’ve played on the right or behind the striker at Hull City all season’.

“I found it very strange,” he added. “That was my debut. And every time I played I was on the left. Alarm bells were ringing right away. I don’t know why he did it. I came in just as Payet left and maybe it was a case of ‘you can play there’ but I’d only filled in on the left on a couple of times.

“He probably thought he was onto a winner but I hate that position. When you’re Scottish you’re brought up to play anywhere and it’s fine to play for one or two games but you need to play in your right position, especially on the back of scoring nine goals for Hull City. At that stage nobody had scored more goals for Hull, or for West Ham.”

Lines of communication weren’t exactly great. “The manager was under a lot of pressure and I later said that out of respect I didn’t want to go in and see him during that period, “ Snodgrass said. “But when I eventually did speak to him I said I thought he’d have known I wasn’t a left midfielder and that he must have watched me after signing me for that type of money. His answer was basically that when people are confident they can play anywhere.”

Whatever West Ham’s motivation for it all, Snodgrass played 15 matches without scoring last season and may feel he was rather hung out to dry when told he was surplus to requirements this summer. Their loss has been Aston Villa’s gain. He only recently completed the purchase of a house in London and made schooling arrangements for his children, but his day job is now in Birmingham, having agreed a loan deal to hook up with his former Hull City gaffer Steve Bruce at Aston Villa. Things haven’t been plain sailing at the London Stadium in his absence - Bilic’s job is on the line with the club sitting rock bottom after three defeats to date - but that doesn’t mean Snodgrass secretly wishes the club where he is still under contract any ill will.

“I enjoyed every second at West Ham with the lads and the staff,” he said. “It’s a club that is well run but there were certain things behind the scenes that weren’t right. There are certain things that I can’t really say here, but you look at it and you end up getting a lot of stick for something when you came in probably at the wrong time. There was a lot of broken promises, a lot of dishonesty and I thought ‘this is not what I am about’. I want to wear my heart on my sleeve and be loyal. What you see is what you get. If that isn’t the same the other way then I don’t want to be part of it.”

At least Snodgrass doesn’t have all this hanging over him as he reports for Scotland duty, Gordon Strachan having kept faith with him despite a lack of matches so far this season. “I’ve had about one hour at Aston Villa,” he said. “I did my medical, signed some papers and away I went. It was a relief to get it sorted before joining up with the Scotland squad. I asked the manager for some advice and told him I didn’t want to disrupt his plans.

“I’m glad not to be going into a crazy, manic week with things up in the air,” he added. “It’s hard because I just got my kids into school in London and then had to move. It took me four or five months to get the school lined up and then before you know it I’m an Aston Villa player. It’s difficult and that’s the side of things a lot of people don’t see but that’s modern day football.

“My kids are just starting school on Thursday but we’ll work something out. I won’t be travelling down every day - maybe two days in London and five in Birmingham. Football brings changes and different direction in your life. It’s about how you adapt to it and move on.”