Ben White is uncapped by England at every level but Liverpool and Chelsea wanted him, Leeds fans love him and nothing fazes Brighton defender amid surprise Euro 2020 squad selection

Every England tournament squad throws up a surprise, whether it’s Theo Walcott or Martin Kelly.

And for Euro 2020, it’s Brighton’s Ben White.

White was picked ahead of Eric Dier and Michael Keane

The defender, 23, was named in Gareth Southgate’s final squad as Trent Alexander-Arnold’s replacement for the upcoming major tournament despite never playing for England at any level previously.

Jesse Lingard and James Ward-Prowse were seen as the two most likely candidates to get the call by boss Southgate, but White got the nod, less than a week after making his England debut.

However, given his career to date, perhaps the real surprise is that it’s taken this long to get him involved in the England set-up.

Not only will Brighton fans vouch for that, Leeds supporters have fond memories of the Englishman for his role in their promotion-winning campaign while on loan at Elland Road last season.

After all, this is a player who was reportedly wanted by Liverpool and Chelsea last summer.

So let’s take a closer look at the Seagulls man and see why he captured Southgate’s attention…

White is one of six centre-backs in the provisional squad for the Euros and may yet be cut on June 1

Career so far

White started out with Southampton’s academy before being released at 16 when he then signed for Brighton.

He initially joined their academy before progressing into the first-team, where he made his debut in the League Cup in 2016.

For the 2017/18 season he was on loan with League Two Newport County and was a big hit at the Welsh club.

Then manager Michael Flynn went so far as to say he was ‘the best loan signing the club has ever had’.

White faced Tottenham with Newport in an FA Cup fourth round clash in 2018
Getty – Contributor

White then spent the second half of the 2018/19 season with League One Peterborough, featuring 16 times.

Leeds took him on loan for the 2019/20 season where he played in all 46 league matches as they topped the Championship.

At the end of the season, he was named Leeds’ young player of the year.

In April, a five-year-old Leeds fan wrote to Brighton offering them his pocket money to help his club sign the defender.

Transfer interest

Leeds saw two bids rejected for White last summer as they launched a desperate bid to keep him permanently.

The second offer was thought to be worth around £22million.

Meanwhile, Liverpool and Chelsea were both heavily linked with his signature.

White played in every match of Leeds 2019/20 campaign in the Championship

However, Brighton held firm and got their reward, with White featuring in 36 of their Premier League games as the Seagulls avoided relgation.

Defence certainly wasn’t the issue for Graham Potter’s side: they only conceded 46 goals, which was less than Leicester and West Ham, who finished fifth and sixth respectively.

What has been said?

Having played with a young White at Brighton, former Premier League striker Bobby Zamora is not surprised to see him in the England squad.

Zamora told talkSPORT: “I always thought he was quite composed as a young lad.

“He’s grown into himself, experienced himself in first-team football with Leeds and now Brighton.

White has kept some of the Premier League’s most fearsome players quiet

“I was at the Man City game the other day, yes Phil Foden scored and he’s a fantastic player, but Ben dealt with him very well in that game.

“In terms of Ben and whether he can do it, I believe he can. I don’t think he’ll let England down at all.”

Meanwhile, White himself recently told talkSPORT that he’s not changed much from the youngster who caught everyone’s attention.

“I’ve always been the same player,” he said. “If you look at my clips in League Two, I still do the same things now.

“I just do them more often and I do them with better quality.”

If selected for the 26-man squad, White could represent his country for the first time at any level on the biggest stage possible.

But luckily for the Englishman, nothing fazes him.

“When I step on the pitch, I don’t feel too much pressure,” he added.

“It’s one of those things, you’re just playing a game of football and that’s really all you’re doing.”