Sheffield Wednesday: White snub upsets Owls

Hayden White has rejected Wednesday's contract offer and is on the verge of joining Bolton
Hayden White has rejected Wednesday's contract offer and is on the verge of joining Bolton

Lee Bullen has expressed his disappointment at academy starlet Hayden White’s decision to turn his back on Sheffield Wednesday as the youngster closes in on a switch to Bolton Wanderers.

The Owls offered White, one of the stand-out performers of Bullen’s Under-21 development side, a professional contract last month and the right-back initially agreed to sign a one-year deal.

But White, tracked by Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, West Brom and Wigan Athletic in recent months, has changed his mind and is expected to join Bolton.

The Star understands White, who began his career as a winger before being converted into a right-back, has been tracked by Bolton since the start of April. Dougie Freedman, the Trotters boss, claims he has captured White although they have yet to officially confirm his arrival.

Bullen, who captained Sheffield Wednesday to their 2005 League One play-off final victory over Hartlepool United, tweeted: “Players move on; it’s disappointing.

“But it’s time to focus on what we have, not what we had. The player was offered a pro contract; he discussed it with his agent and decided not to sign. Was it the right move? Time will tell.”

Having nurtured White’s development, Wednesday, under Football League regulations, would be entitled to compensation should the 18-year-old move on to pastures new. If compensation cannot be agreed, an independent tribunal will decide the final figure.

Wednesday offered five of their scholars, including White, professional contracts. Only White has knocked them back.

Freedman says he has signed White and Conor Wilkinson from Wednesday and Millwall respectively.

The Scot said: “I’ve been aware of them both for a while. I feel like we have taken advantage of a situation to get two exciting young players on board.

“I’m trying to build a good all-round squad. Younger players are going to get opportunities here if they work hard, and I have brought these two here in the full knowledge of that.

“If they work hard, listen, and improve their game, they will get their chance. That’s the way I like to work. But this isn’t just a case of bringing them in to put them straight into a development squad.”

Wednesday, meanwhile, will fly out to Portugal for their pre-season tour on Sunday, July 14. The Championship club have confirmed they will jet out to Faro before heading to their training camp base near Albufeira.

During their week-long stay, Dave Jones’ troops will play two friendlies. Their first opponent has yet to be confirmed but the Owls will lock horns with Premier League-bound Hull City on Saturday, July 20. Both of their warm-up matches will take place at the Estádio Municipal de Albufeira.

Wednesday travel to Scunthorpe United’s Glanford Park on July 13, the day before they head to Portugal, whilst Worksop Town host the Owls on August 6.