Ralph Hasenhuttl was full of praise for his forward as his presence for this game was far from given being uncertain with an groin injury issue. Che Adams returned to training on Thursday so the obvious was to let him start on the bench and getting minutes if needed.
The fact that Che Adams is born in Leicester and grew up playing for Highfield Rangers in the suburbs of the city, makes this game a bit special. He has gone from strength to strength since getting rejected by the academy at Leicester, at a very early age.
He moved from Highfield Rangers to Coventry City and again not making the professional standard and released by Sky Blues returning to Leicester Non-League football with St. Andrews and from there moving to Oadby Town another Leicester suburbian club.
His time with Oadby Town was vital as the young man at the age of 16 managed to break into the first team and getting his chance among older players really building a strong foundation for his game. Ilkeston came next as it became a good learning and another season with a great number of games.
A key in any progress of a footballer is to play regularly and being in and around the first team from a very young age as you learn early on how to adapt. He added up 40 games, scoring 9 goals for Ilkeston as this came to count on his previous 33 games and 5 five goals in first team games for Oadby Town.
He was still a teenager when Sheffield United made him an offer and he signed for The Blades in 2014. Stayed for two seasons and made flowering progress as Birmingham came calling, and later made his £15million move to Southampton.
His move to Southampton in 2019 did also lead to his Scotland international call up. Born in Leicester but through ancestors up north it was his special chance. He has since his debut played 19 times for The Tartans, netting 5 goals. Adams did represent England at U.20 level twice back in 2015.
One fun fact is that Che Adams made his full first team debut for Ilkeston away to Jamie Vardy’s Stocksbrige Park Steals in a 3-2 win back in 2013. Of course a few years after Jamie Vardy had left the club, but special to know that the player settling the win for Saints and a legend on the other side actually both were out on the moors of lower league non-league football all those years ago.
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