Graham Potter: Congratulations Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds United...but hands-off Ben White

Brighton and Hove Albion head coach Graham Potter gave congratulations to Leeds United on their promotion to the Premier League but then issued a swift warning on Ben White

Saturday, 18th July 2020, 1:22 pm
Updated Saturday, 18th July 2020, 1:26 pm
Ben White has been excellent for Leeds United this season

Leeds were promoted to the Premier League after 16 years away and their place in the top flight for next season was confirmed by West Brom's 2-1 defeat at Huddersfield Town last night.

White played a key role in Leeds' success and many at the club are keen to sign him on a full-time basis.

White, 22, spent the year on loan at Leeds but is contracted with Albion until June 2022.

The right footed centre back has made 47 appearances for Marcelo Bielsa's team and his classy displays in the Championship also attracted the attention on Premier League champions Liverpool and others, including Tottenham and Manchester City.

Brighton however remain adamant the player who joined them at the age of 16, and also had loan spells at Newport and Peterborough, will be a significant part of their future plans.

Brighton are six points above the drop with two matches remaining and their Premier League safety looks assured.

Potter, who has tracked White's career since the defender's spell at Newport, fully expects the defender to be available for Albion first team selection next season in the top flight.

"He is contracted with us and he is on loan at Leeds," said Potter. "He is our player, it's fantastic that he has had this season with Leeds.

“Everyone won, he got great experience and Leeds got their goal of promotion.

“We rate Ben highly, I've followed his career personally from when he was at Newport to Peterborough and we were aware of him at Swansea and we were trying to sign him ourselves, we like him a lot.

"He's a really good player and thankfully he is our player.

“We'll see him in pre-season and he will be part of our group. When the rest of the guys report back.

"He's a good player he will be competing for a place like everybody."

Potter also confirmed that right back Ezequiel Schelotto, 31, has played his last game for Brighton.

Schelotto, who joined Albion in 2017 from Sporting CP, is actively looking for a new club and hopes for a return to Italy in Serie A if possible.

Schelotto fought his way back from a serious knee injury last term and made nine appearances in all competitions for Albion this season.

“We made that decision. It was best for him, best for us," said Potter.

“We have got Tariq (Lamptey), we have got Monty (Martin Montoya) so we are well covered in that area.

“It was the right thing for us and for him to make that decision a little bit before we had to because we had enough options and it gives him time to sort his future out.”

A message from the Editor, Gary Shipton: In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news, I am asking you to please purchase a copy of our newspapers.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspapers.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

Stay safe, and best wishes.