Paul Benson backs level-headed Joe White to flourish at Dagenham & Redbridge under John Still
PUBLISHED: 10:00 15 September 2017
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Victoria Road legend discusses Daggers’ latest teenage sensation and offers his view on Oliver Hawkins move to Portsmouth
Paul Benson has backed young Dagenham & Redbridge forward Joe White to go places, but only after getting his head down and developing correctly at the National League club.
The teenage forward scored on his full debut for the Victoria Road outfit at the start of this month in a 3-1 win over Gateshead.
It capped a wonderful couple of days for White after he signed a three-year contract extension on August 31.
Benson worked with the youngster during the 2016/17 campaign and could see the talent of the 18-year-old, but has advised him to learn his trade at Daggers before going elsewhere.
He said: “I first saw Joe when he trained with the first-team last season and you could tell straight away that he had a bit of ability.
“Joe just needs to keep his head down, work hard, not get carried away with the goal against Gateshead and stay level-headed.
“I expect he will keep working like he does because he is a good kid and one that does listen. He is not one to get carried away, so I think he will keep a level-head and he will go places because he is a good player.
“Obviously I hope he can have a couple of great seasons at Dagenham first and score loads of goals for them.
“But he really is a good kid and I would like to see him do well there because the supporters will back him.
“He has come through the academy, so they will take to him and get behind him and hopefully he can flourish.”
One forward that has moved on from Dagenham recently is Oliver Hawkins, after he sealed a switch to League One outfit Portsmouth on deadline day.
Benson admitted it is a great transfer for the ex-Hemel Hempstead Town man, but would have preferred to see him have another good campaign in the National League.
Nevertheless, the ex-Daggers striker believes it just highlights the great work John Still does at Victoria Road.
“Dagenham have been renowned for bringing forwards in who are not the finished article, but they polish them up and send them on their way to bigger and better things,” said Benson.
“They have done it in the past and as long as the manager is there they will keep doing it.
“I think it is a good move for ‘Hawks’ but personally I do feel it is maybe a year too soon for him and I would have said the same even if I was still at Dagenham.
“I would have liked to see him have another good season at Daggers, score a hatful of goals and then move on.
“But you have a short career in football and you never know when to strike when the iron is hot and when a club like Portsmouth comes knocking it is very hard to say no.
“He did really well for Dagenham last season and I do hope he continues to do well now he is at Portsmouth.”