Tom White knows he’s been handed a golden opportunity by Blackburn Rovers – and even Sky Sports coming to his house for an interview won’t make him get carried away.
The 22-year-old has joined the Championship side on a two-year deal following an outstanding season in the National League at Gateshead.
His form led to two England C caps and a number of admirers. He had offers on the table from National League clubs as well as in the League, but a club with the stature of Blackburn was always impossible to turn down.
“I’ve got to pinch myself in a way,” White told The NLP. “I woke up this morning and it’s mad. You’ve got Sky Sports in your back garden for an interview! It’s crazy.
“I’d never expect that to happen. I’ve probably kicked a ball around in that back garden since I was four or five years old. Then to have Sky Sports in there, it’s mad.
“But I’m not one to get carried away. I keep my feet on the ground and keep doing what I’ve done to get myself here – hopefully it takes me as far as I want to go.
“It is a big journey and it’s crazy how everything has worked out but I intend for it to be a start and make it a success. I understand how much of an opportunity I’ve been given and how much I need to take it. Hopefully it’s just the start.”
White has had to work to get his big break and has bounced back from an ACL injury that took the best part of two years to fully recover from.
Add in an eventful season at the Heed last year – fans fell out with the ownership and wages were often late – and the midfielder has experienced a lot in his career already.
“It was a mad season but the fans and staff helped me through it,” White, who says Heed boss Mike Williamson has been hugely influential, said. “A lot of hard work was put in and that’s the key. If you work hard and stay true to yourself then anything can be achieved.
“It was a great season on the pitch, tough one off the pitch, but it looks like Gateshead are in good hands now, which I’m delighted about. I’m looking forward to seeing how they get on this year. I’ve got some of my best friends still there and I’m very close to the coaching staff and fans. It’s a special club in more ways than one. I’ll be cheering them on this season.
“You can never have been there and done it all but in my short career so far I’ve seen a lot. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs that will stand me in good stead.
“I’ve been, not at rock bottom but close enough with the injuries and getting loaned out when I felt I should have been pushing for the first team. So I’ve seen a lot and I’ll learn every day at Blackburn. I’ve got good experience behind me and I’ll make sure it pushes me forward.”
By Matt Badcock