Ex-Gateshead manager Ben Clark hails Hartlepool United target as best midfielder in the league

Hartlepool United target Tom White is ‘the best midfielder in the National League’, according to Ben Clark.

By Dominic Scurr
Friday, 14 June, 2019, 10:45
Tom White is one of Hartlepool's top transfer targets this summer (Photo: Charlie Waugh/Gateshead FC)

The former Pools defender worked with White at Gateshead for four years as the midfielder rose through the ranks at the International Stadium.

The 22-year-old scored three goals in 43 appearances in a breakthrough season at the Heed in 2018/19, when he was named as the club’s Player of the Season.

Ben Clark and Tom White following Gateshead's 2-1 win over Barnet (Photo: Charlie Waugh/Gateshead FC)

Hartlepool manager Craig Hignett is keen on bringing the England C international to the Super 6 Stadium.

And Clark – who made 162 league appearances for Pools – believes that would represent a great piece of business for his old club.

“From the games I saw last year, Tom was the best midfielder in the National League,” admitted the former Heed boss.

“If it’s Hartlepool, they would be getting a fantastic player, a fantastic person and someone who is only going to go higher.

“We only really scratched the surface with Tom because we could see there was still loads of room for improvement in him, even with how well he did for us.

“He was rightly our Player of the Year at Gateshead.

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“He’s a player who is particularly brave at getting on the ball, which is something you can’t always teach, to be fair. You either have that or you don’t.”

White’s rise to one of the National League’s most influential young midfielders is made even more impressive given the fact his career almost came to a premature end when he suffered a serious ACL injury playing for Gateshead’s under-19 side.

“One of Tom’s biggest strengths is his mental side,” Clark continued.

“He had a huge setback when he was 18 with a really bad injury and it would have been easy for Tom to throw the towel in, if you like.

“His progression has been unbelievable over the past few years and he’s still only 22 so still has loads to learn and plenty of time to keep getting better.

“He’s the type of lad that if you tell him something, he will take it in and learn it.

“I think he will thrive if he does end up going to Hartlepool because it is a fantastic club with great supporters who will get right behind him.”

White admitted last month that, as a self-confessed “home lad”, a move to Pools would appeal, and that he was left “impressed” following a conversation with Hignett.​​​​​