Ex-Ilkeston star Che Adams makes his tournament debut

Che Adams’ journey from non-league football to the highest level reached new heights on Monday as he appeared for Scotland at Euro 2020.

Monday, 14th June 2021, 6:10 pm
Che Adams runs with the ball whilst under pressure from Ondrej Celustka and Vladimir Coufal during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group D match between Scotland and Czech Republic. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Adams, who began his career with Ilkeston FC before progressing to the Premier League with Southampton via Sheffield United and Birmingham City was a second-half substitute as the Scots lost 2-0 at home to the Czech Republic.

The 24-year-old made his international debut for the Scots in the warm-up games for the tournament, and livened up the attack after his arrival on Monday but couldn’t inspire a comeback. He’s now fancied by many to earn a starting berth against England at Wembley on Friday night.

ITV Sport recorded a feature with Adams ahead of the game, during which he spoke of his time in non-league football and the journey he’s been on since being released by Coventry City as a youngster.

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Che Adams in action for Ilkeston FC. Photo by Craig Lamont.

He said: “I’ve had a lot of ups and downs and have had to put in a lot of hard work. When you get knocked back at such a young age you have to bounce back quickly – I love the game and that makes you even more determined.

"You know in the lower leagues you’re going to get kicked about all over the place and it was a hard place to be but it just made me fall back in love with the game again.

"I’m still in touch with the guys at Ilkeston. It helps to keep your feet on the ground and remain humble. They were there from the start so to see me playing in major tournaments like this, they’re going to be proud of me.”

The ITV feature also included interviews with Ilkeston director Mark Frost and former manager Kevin Wilson, the latter having guided Adams through the Robins academy and into the first team before his sale to Sheffield United.

Wilson said: "I could just see the raw talent in him and he’s a cult hero at Ilkeston. You could see that he had the attitude and application.

"We had to give him a few rollickings a long the way and the odd kick up the backside but he responded in the right way.

"He’s living his dream but I speak to him now and he’s still the same boy and hasn’t changed.”