If you compiled a guide to Ryman League Division One South players who have appeared in a Wembley Cup final, represented their country and finished leading scorer in the league, the chances are it would be a very short list.

Metropolitan Police's Craig Carley not only ticks all those boxes but, at 23, still harbours ambitions of a return to the big time.

Carley has smashed 25 goals in this campaign to fire the Blues into the play-offs, and his stop-start route to glory should be an inspiration to all.

He says: "I used to play for ADT College in Wandsworth and we made the final of the Auto Windscreen Youth Shield at the old Wembley.

"We lost 1-0, but I got spotted by some Fulham scouts and was asked to join their youth set-up.

"I spent about a year in their youth teams but it didn't really work out and I signed for Kingstonian."

A frustrating period followed, during which Carley found himself frozen out after refusing to attend Kingston College (part of the Ks set-up), preferring instead to continue his education at ADT.

He continued: "After that, I didn't play football for about a year, as I was disillusioned with it all, to be honest.

"It was only when a friend asked if I was interested in going along for trials at AFC Wimbledon that I got back into it."

A brief spell with Dons ensued, before Carley switched to Walton Casuals, where he really found his groove.

He added: "It started badly, as I broke my ankle in my second game and was out for three months. But they stuck by me and I hit form."

Carley yo-yoed between the Stags and Wimbledon as the clubs vied for his services and, after settling back at Franklyn Road, repaid Casuals' faith by firing 28 goals from midfield.

And that tempted Met Police to snap up the fencer and hoarder.

Now, standing on the precipice of a climb into the Ryman Premier Division, Carley is adamant his side have what it takes.

He said: "In a one-off game, we know we can beat anyone. Our aim is definitely to go up this season via the play-offs.

"And I will be doing all I can to help the cause."

CRAIG CARLEY FACTFILEDate of birth: July 8, 1984Previous clubs: Fulham, Kingstonian, Walton Casuals, AFC WimbledonPosition: Midfield/strikerMarital status: Living with partnerSchool: ADT CollegeLives: RoehamptonFavourite team: FulhamFavourite player: Cristiano RonaldoCar: Renault ClioBest memory in football: Playing for England non-league side in Jersey tournament