Ben White’s unconventional career journey to England’s Euro 2020 squad

Ben White has taken an unconventional career path before getting his England call-up for the Euros.

Brighton star White, 23, was released by Southampton at 16, tipped for England while on loan at Newport County and is already one of the most sought after defenders in the Premier League.

But White really caught the eye when he wanted to do extra training sessions after a trial match at Brighton with other players who had just been released.

Brighton academy boss John Morling said: “He came in for a trial game on the Astroturf by the Amex for players that had been released. Did well. It would probably have been a yes anyway.

Ben White has been called up to England’s Euro 2020 squad after Trent Alexander-Arnold was forced to pull out

“He did the extra work. Not everyone does that. Wherever you go, always have staff who are prepared to work as much as you do. Some do it a little, some do it a lot, some do it religiously.”

White has now had the call to replace Trent Alexander-Arnold and his versatility – he can play right back, right side of a back three and in a back four – could be key in getting him minutes at the Euros which will feel a long way from his early career days.

White joined Brighton but was farmed out on loan to Newport, Peterborough and Leeds but it was at the Welsh club when their manager Michael Flynn insisted that, even at League Two level, he stood out so much that he was destined to play for England.

Morling said: “I was really happy to hear it because there is uncertainty when anyone goes on loan. He took to it like last night, looks like he has been there for a long time.

“Peterborough was out of his comfort zone. He doesn’t get fazed by anything. You cannot be fearful of making mistakes. It helps having players who can move around. That is a big plus.

“We will be looking at the Euros like we have never watched it before. If they get minutes that is great. His attitude is first-class. He is a nice person. Lovely family. Nice to see nice things happen to nice people.

“Ben didn’t play for England at U15, 16, 17 and 18. He has come through later. He was released by another club. There is hope.

“He is good in training and in games. He is so calm. If you look at him in training, he would do things at a very high level and make them look easy.

“He is not a typical football. Technically very efficient. We have a possession based philosophy, so he suits that very well. Versatile, centre-half, right-back and holding midfield. Calm on the ball.”

White was so popular during his spell at Leeds, a social media campaign was launched – entitled #freebenwhite – as they wanted to sign him, Liverpool also tracked him and yet Brighton held on to him.

They want to keep him for another year because, like Brighton, he is going places.

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