Brighton & Hove Albion manager Graham Potter expects defender Ben White to be a part of the club’s first team for the 2020/21 campaign.
The player currently on loan at Championship side Leeds United has played a vital part in the Peacocks’ promotion back to the Premier League.
Fans of Leeds were filmed singing “Ben White, sign him up” as they celebrated outside Elland Road on Friday night following a confirmation of their top-flight return after Huddersfield Town beat West Bromwich Albion.
However, Potter is not allowing any of that as he cooled any hopes of Leeds making the 22-year-old’s deal a permanent in the summer.
“He’s contracted with us and he’s on loan at Leeds. He’s our player,” said Potter at a press conference on Saturday. It’s fantastic he’s had this year with Leeds. I think everybody won. Ben got some great experience, Leeds achieved their goal of promotion.
“But we rate him highly. I followed his career personally when he was at Newport and Peterborough. As I’ve said before, we were aware of him at Swansea, we were probably trying to sign him ourselves if we were still there. We like him a lot. He’s a really good player and thankfully he’s our player. (Next season) he’ll be competing for a place like everyone else.”
The Seagulls need just a point in their remain games to be mathematically safe from relegation, which could mean they become an opponent to the Yorkshire side.
Games against Newcastle United and Burnley are next in line for Brighton, but the gaffer will not let his side head into the game against the Magpies thinking they are safe.
He said: “The pressure is not off. We know we’re in the fight. We’ve got six points to play for. We want to try and get as many points as we can. I don’t think you can have that mentality (of playing for a point). I think it’s a dangerous one. In the Premier League you’ve got to try and win the match. And then if you end up with a point, you end up with a point.”
The English coach also revealed Ezequiel Schelotto will not play for the club again. “It was best for him, best for us,” Potter said. “We’re well covered in that area. It was the right thing for us and him to make that decision a little bit before we had to, just because we had enough options and it gives him time to sort his future out.”