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Ben Wilmot: Meet the League Two defender tracked by Spurs and Liverpool

09:00 SAST 2018/04/21
Ben Wilmot Stevenage
The youngster is being chased by some of England’s biggest clubs after taking impressively to lower league football at Stevenage

You would forgive Ben Wilmot for being overwhelmed as he addressed the national media at the EFL Awards.

At 18, he is playing for in the lowest professional division in England for a club simply trying to bring in gates of around 5,000.

He has, however, enjoyed a breakout season, playing 15 successive games since January and attracting a glut of top clubs to take an interest in his performances. Among those sides interested are Watford, Tottenham and Liverpool.

His performances have resulted in a first England Under-19 cap, while he was at the EFL Awards to pick up the award for League Two Apprentice of the Year.

Already he is valued by his club at upwards of £1 million, but the prospects of keeping hold of the homegrown talent are slim. Watford have already made a first move, but their £500,000 offer was rebuffed.

The club’s chairman Phil Wallace admits that he is resigned to losing his side’s talent.

“Ben has had a lot of interest after his recent appearances and will no doubt move up to a higher level in the summer, if not before,” Wallace told Goal. “His England U19 cap recognised the fact that he is one of the best young centre-halves in England after playing just 15 games for the Stevenage first team. His potential to become a player at the top level is exciting.”

Wilmot played alongside Manchester City and Chelsea starlets as he lined up for England against Macedonia. He has proved himself physically capable to cope with a tough division at a young age, with his ability to read the game especially catching the eye.

The youngster admits that he is surprised at how quickly scouts haven noticed him since he made his first-team debut.

“It is mental. It has all happened so fast,” he told Goal. “I played a game once in October, that’s where it started off, then in early January I got into the side and everything has flown from there really.

“It has been a whirlwind few months but I have enjoyed it. I have just said that I want to play as many games as I can. When I got in the team I just made sure I stayed in the team. I was happy regardless of what was going on off the pitch.

“My main focus is just to make sure I am playing and playing well. If I am playing well, off the pitch things will happen when the time is right. But we will have to see what happens. I don’t know if I have played my last game for the club.

“I hope not because I want to keep on playing and I enjoy playing as much as I can. There are only a few games left now but I am making sure I am training hard to give the manager a difficult decision to leave me out.”