Brighton boss Graham Potter is not surprised there has been “noise” around Ben White given the player’s attributes.
There has been talk linking the 23-year-old Seagulls defender – also able to operate in midfield – with Liverpool.
As Brighton prepare for Monday’s home clash with Southampton, the club who released White when he was 16, Potter has said he has “no worries about Ben getting his head turned”.
And when asked what it is about White that stands out, Potter said: “I think it’s his age, his ability to defend with big space behind him, which isn’t so easy to do.
“He can pass the ball, he’s got a range of pass, very athletic, brave. He’s got a lot of attributes that are certainly very, very useful in the Premier League, and it’s no surprise there is noise around him.”
Following his release by Southampton and joining Brighton, White went on to have loan spells at Newport, Peterborough and then Leeds, who wanted to bring him back after his impressive form for them during their Sky Bet Championship-winning campaign last term.
On September 1 he signed a new four-year deal with Brighton, and he has started every one of their 10 Premier League games so far this term.
Regarding White being let go by the St Mary’s outfit, Potter said: “It’s part of our life. Sometimes you get the knock-backs, you get rejection and setbacks, failures, whatever you want to call it, and it’s part of how you respond really, that’s the most important thing.
“I think it’s a lesson to every player, because there will be lots at age 16 level getting released from clubs and it’s important to put things into perspective, to try to analyse the situation as clearly and fairly as you can.
“Ben is quite a level-headed, intelligent guy. He’s taken a path, from various loan moves, that has allowed him to play football, to have all those things we just spoke about which is setbacks, failures, mistakes, good times, bad times, all that stuff you need to do.
“And now he’s come to us and he’s trying to establish himself and playing in the Premier League, which is a huge challenge, but he’s taking it on. He’s a great lad and we’re delighted.”
White’s fellow ex-Saint Adam Lallana will miss Monday’s game after aggravating a groin problem in last week’s 1-1 draw against Liverpool.
Potter said of Lallana, the 32-year-old midfielder who joined Brighton in July after leaving the Reds: “He’s been available for us for every game. He’s played a part in pretty much every match.
“OK, he’s got a bit of a history. But also he didn’t play so much maybe for other reasons as well, in terms of Liverpool fighting in Europe and trying to win the Premier League.
“He won’t be the only player to have had a two-week muscle strain at this time, so it’s not out of the ordinary.
“You have to manage and understand where he has come from and how you can help him get to where we would like him to be, which is to be playing in the starting XI every week in the Premier League. That won’t happen overnight, but the more we learn about each other, the better it will be.
“But we’re really happy with Adam. It’s a little setback but it’s not too bad when you consider what is happening everywhere at the moment.”
Monday’s game is among those with up to 2,000 fans permitted to attend.