Paul Barber expects Brighton to have even more success with his youth academy

Brighton chief executive Paul Barber believes they are starting to reap the rewards of their academy.

Since the American Express Elite Football Performance Center opened in 2014, a number of players have burst into the first team.

Over the past two seasons, Aaron Connolly, Steven Alzate, Robert Sanchez and Ben White have all become regulars on the first team.

Graham Potter has also named Under-23s Teddy Jenks, Jenson Weir, Reda Khadra and Tom McGill to the Team of the Day this season.

But Barber expects them to have more success with the academy in the future.

He said: “John Morling and his team are doing a great job.

“We have a lot of exciting young people from all angles and we said that when we opened the academy it would probably take half a decade to start seeing the fruits of our labor.

“Before we opened Lancing, we only had excellent schools, which nowhere had the levels of training or facilities that we have now.

“So you start to see the fruits of your labor four or five years after you start the program and we are starting to do it.

“Which is great not only for the club now but also in the future, it will help us attract players from all over the country to an academy that not only advances young players but can also pave the way for the first team, which gives them the best chances. to play high level football.

“So this is a really exciting time and we are delighted with the progress the young people are making. ”

One of the players who has been one of the academy’s achievements is White.

He joined Albion at the age of 16.

White went on to take on a series of loans with Newport County League 2, Peterborough League 1 and most recently in the 2019/20 season at Leeds, where he garnered attention.

Last summer, the Seagulls turned down several Leeds offers for White after he played a pivotal role in their promotion to Prem.

He has become a regular this season.

His performances saw him named to England’s 33-man provisional squad for the Euro last week

However, on Tuesday it was announced that the Whites had missed the 26-man squad.

Despite this, he won his first cap for England last night in their friendly against Austria.

Read more: White wins his first selection in England

But despite missing the Euro, Barber praised White.

He said: “It’s fantastic for Ben and well deserved.

“He’s a good character on and off the pitch and I hope Gareth (Southgate) uses Ben in both friendlies.

“With the World Cup next year, he is in pole position to claim to be part of this team.

“It’s great for Ben and for us as a club.”


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