STEVE Clarke believes Che Adams can have a long and successful international career after the former England under-20 international pledged his allegiance to Scotland.

The Saints striker rejected Scotland’s advances in 2017, but Clarke heard a “whisper” last week that the 24-year-old had decided to come on board.

The decision comes in time for Adams to feature in the first three games of Scotland’s World Cup qualifying campaign against Austria, Israel and the Faroe Islands this month.

And the former Sheffield United and Birmingham forward has put himself in the frame for Euro 2020.

But Clarke is convinced the forward is in it for the long haul.

“He was approached when Alex (McLeish) was the manager four years ago,” Clarke said. “He would have been 19 or 20 on the back of playing a couple of friendly matches for England under-20s, so it’s not as if he’s got a long history with England.

“I had a good chat with him a couple of times last week and things moved very quickly and the paperwork has been done.

“It’s the right time first of all because he showed an inclination to play for Scotland. That makes a big, big difference.

“We spoke about the future. We didn’t speak just about the near future, we spoke about the far future. For me Che, at 24 years of age, can hopefully go on to have a long and hopefully distinguished Scotland career.”

Leicester-born Adams – who has a Scottish grandparent – has netted seven Premier League goals this season including three in his last three matches.

“The player himself is excited to be coming to play for Scotland and hopefully the lads in the squad will realise that Che can bring something a little bit different,” Clarke said.

“He’s an English Premier League striker in good goalscoring form, plays for a good club, plays in a good way. I like his movement on the pitch, he’s a strong boy.

“He’s not tall but he’s good in the air, he can run the channels. He’s got a lot to his game that I think will certainly make the squad better and hopefully will make the team better as well.

“And that’s what you have always got to try and do. The euphoria of qualifying for the Euros has died down a little bit and now we have to address areas of the pitch that are a little bit of concern.”