Ben White was on antibiotics for SEVEN years as a child due to a life-threatening illness… after playing for Leeds then Brighton and keeping two clean sheets in his first two caps in England, he is now ready to cover the injured Harry Maguire
- Ben White had no problem winning over the fans when he was loaned to Leeds
- White played in the center of Marcelo Bielsa’s defense and was a standout player
- As a result of his performances, he has landed a seat on the side of Gareth Southgate
- White will also replace the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold at the European Championship this summer
- White’s rise to stardom wasn’t easy, though — taking antibiotics for years
- Read the latest Euro 2020 news, including fixtures, live action and results here.
It takes a special player to instantly win over the Elland Road crowd.
The atmosphere at the home of Leeds United is one of the most hostile in the country for visiting teams, but it can be just as intimidating for new players who don’t immediately find their way into the famous white shirt.
Ben White had no such problems when he was loaned to Leeds from Brighton for the 2019-20 season. Playing at the center of Marcelo Bielsa’s defence, White was so impressive in his early games that Leeds supporters immediately took him to heart – and it’s that form that took him all the way to the England senior squad two years later.
Friday 11 June
Saturday June 12
Sunday 13 June
Ben White had no problem winning over the fans when he was loaned to Leeds from Brighton
After a single full season in the Premier League with Brighton, White is now on track to make his first competitive start for England – in their opening Euro 2020 match against Croatia at Wembley on June 13, having been drafted for the last 26- stubborn selection instead of the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold.
It’s a good thing the 23-year-old seems to be picking up on life.
Southgate had made up their minds after seeing White’s impressive performance on his first start in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Romania, England’s last friendly before starting their campaign. Being equally comfortable in both a back-three and back-four also counted in White’s favor as he got the nod to Jesse Lingard and James Ward-Prowse.
White played in the center of Marcelo Bielsa’s defense and was so impressive in his early games
As a result of his recent showings, he has secured a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad ploeg
White’s rise is all the more remarkable when the difficulty of his early life is taken into account. “His immune system wasn’t working,” his mother, Carole, told The Athletic. “If someone sneezed, they got pneumonia.
“He had appendicitis and he couldn’t get rid of it for a while. He had six or seven different infections. He spent much of his young life in hospital for months at a time.
“He was seven when his appendix was removed. He was given antibiotics twice a day until age eight from 18 months. He had massive allergies. We carried an Epipen (adrenaline auto-injector) everywhere. It would be the only way to save him.
White was brought into the squad for injured Liverpool player Trent Alexander-Arnold . to replace
“As a parent, it was either ‘wrapping him in a bubble’ or letting him do what he wanted so he had a quality of life. And then he started to get better.
“Now he has no allergies at all and the treatment has worked. But then, all those days in the hospital, we could never have imagined that he could be an athlete.
But the specialists said the more he exercised, the better it would be at boosting the immune system. So we put him in football, swimming, athletics, rugby, cricket, gymnastics – he did it all.
‘But it remains surreal. My brother and I were talking about seeing Ben on television. It’s so weird being a mom and you just think, ‘Gosh, this sickly little boy and now look at him.’
Unlike players who progress through the academies of top clubs to the first team, White had to graft for his place at Brighton. He spent time at Southampton academy before joining Albion in 2014, then had loans in Newport and Peterborough before drawing the attention of the Leeds recruiting team.
White still has three years to go at Brighton, but few expect him to see them off. Leeds were desperate to bring him back after they were promoted, only for Brighton to hold out, and there is interest from Liverpool too.
He is a hugely promising centre-back for a country that has far too few, and his status as a homegrown player will only increase his transfer value as clubs grapple with new Brexit rules.
Such discussions are for the future. Ben White has his hands full with the present, but everything he’s done so far suggests he’ll handle it just fine.