For Callum Wilson, who earned his first England call-up on Thursday, it has been bumpy, injury-ravaged road to the top.
But each time a setback has hindered his rise from non-league loanee to Premier League goal-getter, the Coventry-born striker has come back stronger.
The first of those injury blows came back in January 2012, when on loan from his hometown club at Tamworth in the National League – or Conference, as it was known back then. Having made a bright start to his temporary stint, Wilson broke his foot and would not play again for a year.
Callum Wilson celebrates scoring for Bournemouth against Manchester United last weekend
A dozen appearances, mainly off the bench, came after the turn of the year for a Coventry side struggling both on and off the pitch after relegation to League One.
Heading into the 2013-14 season, a now-21-year-old Wilson had a modest career record of three goals in 34 games – 20 of those in non-league for Kettering and Tamworth. Yes, the majority of those appearances were off the bench, but he hardly screamed future England call-up. In fact, Wilson at this stage had more than double yellow cards (seven) than goals to his name.
Coventry’s demise was to play into Wilson’s hands though as, more by necessity than design, he and a number of academy graduates were thrust into the role of regular starters under Steven Pressley – and that’s where his career really began to take off.
Netting 22 goals in 41 games, he attracted the interest of Eddie Howe, who splashed the £3million Bournemouth had just earned from the sale of Lewis Grabban on a like-for-like replacement in Wilson.
Able to run in behind and hold the ball up, Wilson broke the 20-goal mark for the second successive season as the Cherries were promoted to the top flight for the first time, earning and England Under 21 cap along the way.
Having scored five goals in his first seven Premier League games in 2015 – including a hat-trick at West Ham – Wilson’s injury curse struck again as he ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee against Stoke in September.
Wilson goes down in agony after rupturing his cruciate knee ligament against Stoke in 2015
Again though, Wilson bounced back, returning less than seven months later against Aston Villa. He failed to score in the final six games of the season but the rapid recovery was testament to his fitness and character.
Wilson’s second season in the Premier League did not start as prolifically as his first but he was sitting on a respectable return of six goals from 20 matches before another anterior cruciate ligament rupture in February. Mercifully though, this was in his left knee, though the road to recovery would be another tough one.
As is the pattern with his career, Wilson recovered rapidly and was soon finding the net again, scoring nine times in 31 matches last season after returning in October.
The determined 26-year-old has now been rewarded for a fine start to the season – in which he has scored seven times in 13 matches in all competitions – by being named as Harry Kane’s back-up for the national team in the upcoming matches against USA and Croatia.
Still only 26, Wilson is all too aware of the ups and downs a footballer can have in their short career, and he’s clearly not one to sit and moan if things don’t go his way.
If he is used by Gareth Southgate, you wouldn’t bet against him taking his chance.