Solly March’s recent form could persuade Garth Southgate to select the attacker for England duty this week
With transfer rumours irrepressible in the footballing world, there are always new players being connected to different clubs. As Brighton and Hove Albion continue to excel and overachieve, they are increasingly linked with larger fees and more illustrious names.

But in the swirl of fresh players and loftier heights, just how important is a player like Solly March in maintaining the identity of his club?

There is more to come from Solly March – Roberto De Zerbi | The Independent

As Roberto De Zerbi continues to expand his footballing empire at Brighton, one of his most satisfying achievements has been the realisation of Solly March’s potential. With well over 200 Brighton appearances to his name, the 29-year-old has been a constant presence in the Albion squad.
However, before De Zerbi’s appointment, March was often tarred with the ‘utility player’ brush, a solid but uninspiring choice in any position which may need filling, at both Premier League and Championship level. But having removed the ‘utility player’ shackles, De Zerbi has unearthed one of the most threatening and dynamic forwards in the Premier League.

In his new inverted role, scything in from the right wing, March’s 7 league goals in 2022/23 nearly doubled his tally from his previous five Premier League seasons. His three goals in the first three games of the 2023/24 season have cemented his place as a key player in the growth of Roberto De Zerbi’s European Empire and will have drawn the interest of England manager Gareth Southgate, who watched March score a brace against Wolves earlier this month.


With the squad announcement pending, March’s name on the list would be a fitting testament to the rate of his development and the quality of player he is becoming.

Premier League betting: Back Roberto De Zerbi's Brighton to reach top four  at 15/2 | Football News | Sky Sports

But in the constant waves of the transfer window and the beginnings of a new season, the football world obsesses with the unknown. New players, yet to justify their price tags, yet to show what they can bring to their new clubs, often draw the attention away from established players like March, who has been at the club since 2013.


Despite not always drawing attention, as one of the two current players to have represented Brighton in the Championship, March’s role at the club is vital, transcending his impact on the pitch. He represents the values that set Brighton apart from Premier League competitors and form the basis for their identity as a club.


The recognition of his dedication to the team and the trust put in March throughout his career epitomise the club’s loyalty and respect, especially for a player who has represented the club with such devotion. Brighton saw March’s potential and now their patience is being rewarded.


In other Premier League environments, fans, coaches and owners are far more ready to dispose of players who do not immediately meet expectations. Their search for instant gratification leads to huge spending on players who, should they fail to make an instant impact, are later palmed off for far smaller fees. Brighton’s diligence, and the quality of their scouting, allows them to invest far more time and faith in players, offering sufficient opportunities for them to perform.


The value of trust and patience, in both the process of recruitment and the players themselves, is one that has led to Brighton becoming an impressive force in the transfer market, finding talented players for low sums, and selling for significant profit.

Brighton edge past Crystal Palace thanks to Solly March's early strike |  Premier League | The Guardian

It has also been to the benefit of their playing and coaching staff. March’s thriving development has come as a result of long-term trust, and the trust afforded to Graham Potter left the club with their first ever top-half finish in the Premier League, an achievement that was essential in establishing Brighton’s status and attracting a manager of the quality of Roberto De Zerbi.


As they continue to expand their empire into European competition, Brighton will draw closer to those clubs who expect constant and immediate success. Both on the pitch and in the transfer market, they can begin to challenge the global footballing giants, but maintaining the values that underpinned their progress from the lower tiers of English football will be essential in their survival at the highest levels of world football. If stories like Solly March and his development are forgotten in favour of alluring new names and bigger price tags, Brighton will be unable to compete with the financial muscle of the world’s biggest clubs.


Whilst transfer records are broken and Brighton begin to spend with more authority, fans cannot forget about their Lewes lad. With each goal, assist or perhaps even international call-up, March represents the identity and the history of the club, whilst also providing a glimpse of what those values can offer the club at the highest heights of the footballing world.


As the sport becomes increasingly dictated by spending power, Brighton are beginning to challenge the philosophies of ‘big’ clubs by showing the value of patience and trust across the tiers of English football, and how these things can allow a club to establish themselves not only as overachievers, but as genuine, established competitors.


Just like Solly March, strengthened by trust and patience, the Seagulls can progress and reshape what it takes to be an elite force in the Premier League and beyond.

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