From a Bognor Regis Town loan spell to the Premier League – and goals against Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City

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When Elijah Adebayo hit a hat-trick for Bognor Regis Town against Canvey Island in the Isthmian premier division six years ago, fans knew the loanee from Fulham had a goalscoring knack.

But Rocks supporters could never have imagined that the raw teenager would go on to not only play in the Premier League but to score goals against the likes of Arsenal and Manchester City – and now Chelsea – in his five-goal haul this term. But that’s exactly what Adebayo, 25, has done.

Adebayo’s journey in the football world began at Fulham, where he joined the club’s ranks at the under-nine level in 2007 until he signed his first professional contract in 2016.

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He went on several loan spells in the English lower leagues to build his character and toughness at Slough Town, then Bognor, Cheltenham Town, Swindon Town and Stevenage.

Elijah Adebayo in his Bognor spell in 2017 | Picture: Tommy McMillanElijah Adebayo in his Bognor spell in 2017 | Picture: Tommy McMillan
Elijah Adebayo in his Bognor spell in 2017 | Picture: Tommy McMillan

He left Fulham to join Walsall permanently and after impressing there, he was snapped up by the Hatters in 2021.

The 25-year-old striker, who is eligible to play for England by birth and for Nigeria through his parents, joined the Rocks on a month's loan from Fulham on January 9, 2017. Almost Six years or so later, Rocks club statistician Andrew Relton has taken a look at the frontman’s spell at Nyewood Lane.

Andrew tells us Adebayo made his debut the following night, January 10, at Shoreham in a Sussex Senior Cup fourth round tie, which Bognor won 3-1.

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He added: "His league debut was on January 14 at home to Enfield, scoring a second half equaliser in a 1-1 draw. Adebayo scored a second-half hat-trick in a 5-0 win at Canvey Island.

Elijah Adebayo celebrates after scoring for Luton against Arsenal at Kenilworth Road earlier this month (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)Elijah Adebayo celebrates after scoring for Luton against Arsenal at Kenilworth Road earlier this month (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
Elijah Adebayo celebrates after scoring for Luton against Arsenal at Kenilworth Road earlier this month (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

"His final goal for the club came on his last appearance on February 7 at Hendon, the second goal in a 2-2 draw. In total he played seven games (six in the league, one cup) and scored five goals, in four wins, two draws and one defeat.

"This was all after he'd scored a hat-trick against us on his debut for Slough, when we lost 4-1 on October 29, 2016 in the FA Trophy first qualifying round."

Rocks general manger Simon Cook said: “It’s always nice to play a part in the development of a player and see them flourish such as Elijah has, and we wish him continued success in his career.”