As Che Adams looks set to depart Southampton this summer with his contract coming to an end, he can leave on a high having brought Premier League football back to St Mary’s.

With fairy-tale stories like Jamie Vardy and Michail Antonio taking up most of the limelight, it can be forgotten just how far Che Adams has come in his journey from non-league, which has led to his Scotland call-up for the upcoming Euros in Germany.

Admittedly born in Leicester, there has been no problem for Adams when it comes to winning over the Tartan Army, with 29 caps to his name since making his debut in 2021.

He, along with Jarrod Bowen, Ollie Watkins, Jordan Pickford and Aaron Ramsdale are the only players in the whole of the upcoming tournament to have played in the English non-league pyramid.

However, the others listed don’t have anywhere near the amount of experience in the semi-professional game as Adams. After being released by Coventry in 2010, ending a seven year stay at the Sky Blues’ academy, Oadby Town gave the youngster a chance to prove himself.

At just 16 years old, he made 33 appearances and notched five goals in what was an impressive debut season in the tenth tier.

Ilkeston Town pinched Adams the following year, where he stepped up to the seventh tier for The Robins and made the transition look effortless.

He bettered the previous years tally by netting nine goals in 40 games and helped win the Derbyshire Senior Cup, winning a penalty in the final. 

His manager at the time, Kevin Wilson commended Adams’ mentality: “He used to travel from Leicester to Ilkeston. It took him a train and a couple of buses to get there but he was never late, he was always there on time.”

The following season started off in great form for Adams and by the end of October he had 43 teams scouting him after picking up 20G/A, but he had his heart set on Sheffield United.

Wilson said: “That showed you how much interest there was not only in Che but Ilkeston as a whole at the time. But Che was the standout.”

Once again, he seemed to improve as the standard around him also did, making the move to League 1 without a drop off in form. He enjoyed two great seasons with The Blades, with the highlight being his first goals for the club, which came against Tottenham in the semi-final of the League Cup.

The upwards trajectory continued, as Birmingham City spent £1.7 million to take the striker to the Championship, meaning he had climbed eight divisions in just four years.

Goals were in rare supply at the start of his time at St Andrews, but he announced himself as one of the Championship’s best players in 2018/2019.

Adams finished the year with 22 goals after taking the club’s number nine shirt, and registered interest from numerous Premier League clubs in the January of that season.

Southampton spent £15 million on getting the in-demand Adams to the south coast, where he has made over 150 appearances for the club. His best year for The Saints will be much debated, but he has been a key component in helping them bounce back to the top flight at the first attempt, finding a new role under Russell Martin which has improved his all-round game. 

Wolves are one of the frontrunners to offer Adams a move back to the midlands.

This will be his second tournament for Scotland, after starting all three of their short Euro 2020 campaign, becoming the first non-white footballer to represent the nation in the finals of a major international tournament. Adams has the opportunity to complete his meteoric rise by going from the tenth tier to giving Scotland one of their most memorable moments should they pick up a win in Germany.