FORMER Oldham Athletic youth team player Anthony White has been appointed England men’s national goalkeeping coach.
It is the latest chapter in the remarkable journey of the 29-year-old who will work exclusively with England U19s as well as assisting with other age groups.
Yet White admitted it may never have happened but for Lee Johnson taking a gamble of appointing him first-team goalkeeping coach despite never having had a professional career.
“Lee was an inspirational young coach, and he had the trust in me aged 21 to coach, something I will always be grateful to him for,” he said.
White succeeded Bobby Mimms, who was Blackburn Rovers’ goalkeeper when they won the Premier League title in 1995, when he landed a job as goalkeeping coach to the Bahrain national team.
In his three years at Boundary Park, White also worked with managers John Sheridan, David Dunn, Darren Kelly and Dean Holden describing them all as major influences.
White then spent four-and-a-half years at AFC Bournemouth as assistant goalkeeping coach to Neil Moss.
While White worked with Asmir Begovic, Artur Boruc, Adam Federici and Ryan Allsop, there was also a mandate to produce goalkeepers, something the club had never done before.
And there was success, notably Aaron Ramsdale who was bought as a teenager from Sheffield United for a fee of about £400,000 and sold back to them in the summer for £18.5million.
They also brought in Mark Travers as a 17-year-old from Shamrock Rovers for £20,000 and 15-year-old Will Dennis from Watford with Travers now a full Eire international and Dennis also a first-team squad member.
“It was our job to coach them and help them to develop and they are all in and around first-team football,” he said.
White, one of four members of the England goalkeeping team, is no stranger to the Football Association, however, as he worked for them during his time with Bournemouth.
And he believes the experiences of his time at Oldham and Bournemouth will stand him in good stead for his new job.
“If you gave me £1m, you could not buy the experiences gained from those seven-and-a-half years, including working with Eddie Howe,” he said.
And in the short time in his new post, White has already attended four international camps.
Four days after leaving Bournemouth, White assisted with the U20s, was goalkeeping coach for the U19 women and U16 sides then took his own U19 group.
The U19s are preparing for next year’s Euro’s when there will be a qualifying round in March followed by the summer finals in Romania.
White described it as a promising and talented group which includes Manchester City’s Liam Delap, Cole Palmer and James McAtee along with Liverpool’s Harvey Elliott.
White worked with three goalkeepers, Manchester City pair James Trafford and Louie Moulden and Coniah Boyce-Clarke, from Reading.
Looking back, he said: “It is great honour to work for your country, but also one of the most daunting experiences.
“It is totally different to club football and, as someone said, it is the university of football.
“When you are at a club, you never have time to reflect what is happening outside.
“But when I go to games, I can see there is a lot of talent in this country.”
White is looking forward to trying to help England win the Euros.
He said: “To coach some of the England players and be part of a group trying to win something for your country gives me goose bumps.
“That will also be the case when we have competitive fixtures and I hear the National Anthem played beforehand.”
White, who was raised in Alsager, Cheshire, was in Stoke City’s academy until the age of 16 when, after being released, he joined Oldham Athletic.
He was freed by Oldham aged 18 and spent three years playing and studying in Florida at Rollins College, Orlando.
White returned to Oldham and was coaching in the academy and with the youth team when Johnson handed him the break which has helped shape his career.
He always remembers some advice Tony Philliskirk, Oldham Athletic’s head of youth, gave him on his release.
White said: “As Tony walked me out of the door, he told me that if you don’t play for your country make sure you coach it, prophetic words.
“I wanted to achieve everything as a player as a naïve 18-year-old, but as a mature 21-year-old I had seen life and knew what my strengths and weaknesses were.
“I realised then that to have a long-term career in the game, it would be coaching.”