By Matt Badcock,
Tom White can’t wait to experience football in Europe.
The 22-year-old midfielder has starred at Gateshead this season and made his Three Lions debut from the bench in the 2-2 draw against Wales in September.
Boss Paul Fairclough has selected the exciting Heed man again and he can’t wait to meet up with his international team-mates.
“Getting the call-up last time was massive,” White told The NLP. “Although I didn’t start the game, I thought I came on and showed what I’m about so I was pleased to follow that up with another call-up. It was a proud achievement.
“It will be a whole other experience. I’ve never played a football match abroad at all so it will be another experience and a completely different environment I’ve never experienced before.
“I’d never really been around a camp like this before either. So it was intriguing, I came away really interested and excited and hopeful I could go back again. Now I know more what to expect and I’m relishing it already.
“Even though I’ve had three or four weeks off, I never really relax. I’m always thinking about football. People advise me to take two or three weeks off but I’d just sit there twiddling my thumbs so I’ve kept myself fit anyway – I’ve been in the gym and on a few runs so I’ll be alright in terms of usual work-rate.”
White has done his homework on the Estonians by speaking to Heed team-mate Robbie Tinkler, who played in the game at Leyton Orient earlier in the season. He’s expecting a technical opponent but believes the National League has players with similar qualities and capable of playing the style to match.
“The National League can be quite unpredictable,” White said. “I think every team has got players that can go and win you a football match. But they’ve also got players that can adapt to different situations – say if you play a certain team away from home, the ball might not be on the deck as much as some prefer. But then you can go away to a good technical team, like a Barrow, and have to chase shadows.
“It’s a very unpredictable league with a lot of different problems you can face.”
While on the pitch has gone well for White, he and his Gateshead team-mates have been shining despite a backdrop of uncertainty that has continued to roll into the summer. At times wages were late, takeovers collapsed and the National League suspended them from the competition – although there could be a light at the end of the tunnel with a takeover agreed again. White admits it’s been a tricky time.
“The ups and downs have continued through the off season with potential takeovers, the collapsing of takeovers, it’s still been manic,” he said. “I’ve tried to switch off from it, which isn’t always possible because sometimes your phone rings with this and that.
“I’ve been working hard in the background and obviously got this fixture to look forward to and get away to focus on training and football.
“I’ve had a chance to reflect on the season and it’s a season that Gateshead as a playing staff and managers can be proud of.”