There was a time when the idea of Ben White being an England international, and joining Arsenal for £50million, seemed like nothing but a dream.
The defender has achieved both those feats this summer, however his journey to the top has been anything but straight forward.
As a child, White spent years riddled with various infections, while he was also struck down by appendicitis.
“His immune system was not working,” his mum, Carole, told The Athletic recently. “If somebody sneezed, he would end up with pneumonia.”
White eventually recovered, coincidentally as he started playing more football, firstly in the garden with his mum and then at Southampton’s academy.
It was at Saints that White set his sights on becoming a professional footballer as he watched those ahead of him make the grade. He was even a ball boy for his now Arsenal team-mate, Calum Chambers, during an FA Youth Cup tie.
White, however, was stopped in his tracks when, at the age of 16, Southampton released him.
He was understandably disappointed, but undeterred his mum set about calling clubs to find her son a trial and it didn’t take long for Brighton to snap him up.
Mum Carole has played a key role in his career and still does to this day. While his dad does not particularly like football, his mum has been to near enough all of his professional games and her heartbeat is tattooed on his wrist
“It is literally all down to my mum and dad,” White has said. “I definitely wouldn’t be where I am right now if they hadn’t helped me along the way with all the stuff that they did.”