Ben White issues Leeds United message and reflects on Kalvin Phillips bond after Brighton defender's England call
BEN White has issued a heartfelt message to Leeds United as the defender gets set to join close mate Kalvin Phillips in the England fold.
Brighton defender White spent the 2019-20 season on loan at Leeds and played every minute of every league game as Marcelo Bielsa's side stormed to promotion as Championship champions.
Leeds then made White one of their top targets of the summer but saw big money bids rejected by Brighton who refused to sell and White eventually signed a new deal.
One year on, the 23-year-old defender has been named in Gareth Southgate's England squad for the first time and features in the 33-man provisional long list ahead of next month's Euros.
Leeds midfielder Phillips has also been selected and White is relishing the prospect of linking up with his former team mate and hugely grateful for his opportunity at Leeds.
The centre-back arrived at Elland Road with no experience of Championship football having previously had loan spells at Newport County under boss Michael Flynn and then Peterborough United.
White told Brighton's official website: "I think obviously going into League Two at 19 as a centre-half, it's a physical league and I don't think you see many centre-halves going into League Two and playing every game.
"For him (Flynn) to give me that opportunity to do that is obviously unbelievable for me and all the way through really with the leagues.
"Last year (at Leeds) was obviously amazing for me.
"Playing every minute for the best team in the Championship was obviously a massive deal and I am so grateful for all the opportunities they gave me."
Asked about the prospect of linking up with Phillips and if that would be a help to him, White said: "Definitely. Obviously with Kal I was with him all last season, one of my best mates.
"It will be nice to see him because I haven't seen him since probably the last day I was at Leeds so I'm absolutely buzzing to go and see him and to meet everyone."
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Thank you Laura Collins