The importance of Solly March: Why Brighton star remains Graham Potter's No 1 leftie despite Marc Cucurella interest
Brighton announced this week that Solly March, 27, has signed a new contract, which will keep him at the club until June 2024.
Having been there for 10 years, signing from non-league Lewes in 2011, March has committed his future to the Seagulls.
A reliable servant, March, who has made over 200 appearances for Brighton, helped the club win promotion to the Premier League in 2017, and has played a key part in keeping them there ever since, with 113 Premier League appearances to his name.
Brighton maintain a strong interest in Getafe’s £15m rated left side player March Cucurella (below) but fans will be delighted with the news of a new contract, which sees March set to give his prime years to the club.
March told fans that he is “delighted to be here,” and “can’t wait to get going and start these next three years at the club.”
He went on to explain that “being a local Sussex lad it means that little bit extra,” and that over his next period with the Seagulls “our aim is to become a top ten club.”
Predominantly deployed as a left wing back, utilisation of his high work rate allows him to provide both an attacking threat and defensive cover, crucial to the balance of Graham Potter’s side.
The Brighton boss himself stated: “He’s a player who makes a significant impact for us at both ends of the pitch, and we are delighted he’s committed his long-term future to the club.”
However, having elected in both games this season to play with a back four, March’s versatility has been on display. Playing right midfield in the Seagulls’ opening day win against Burnley, and then at left back in their victory over newly promoted Watford, he has shown an impressive adaptability, and just another facet to his game which has made him a fundamental figure at Brighton.
Starting 19 of Brighton’s opening 22 games last season, featuring in two off the bench and missing one through injury, March, when fit, is an ever-present in the Brighton side.
A knee injury suffered in the 1 nil win over Liverpool in February last season kept him out for the remainder of the season.
March underwent surgery on the knee and has played the full 90 minutes in Brighton’s opening two fixtures this season. The wing-back’s importance to Brighton was immediately evident in their results after the injury occurred.
Having picked up 10 points from their last four with March in the side (counting the Liverpool game which March started), a run which included a win against Leeds, a draw against Fulham, and back to back victories against Tottenham and Liverpool, Brighton managed to claim just two points in their next five.
The team struggle to adapt to life without a key player. With maximum minutes on the pitch already this season, Brighton will be hoping that the injury is safely behind their man. Armed with his new contract, March appears set to play an important role under Potter this season.
“I am really pleased to see Solly commit his future here, he is a pleasure to work with and it’s great to see him continue to progress.
“As a local lad he is a great role model and excellent example for any young player with his commitment and hard work.
“He’s a player who makes a significant impact for us at both ends of the pitch, and we are delighted he’s committed his long-term future to the club.”
“It’s massive for me. I’ve been here for almost 10 years now so, for another three or four years, I’m delighted to be here and I can’t wait to get going and start these next three or four years at the club.
“Hopefully we can push on as a club in that time. Our aim is to become a top-ten Premier League club and hopefully we can do that soon.
“I’ve grown into it so far,” March added following his injury. “Maybe this was a step up from the first game but I’ve been out a long time.
“It’s going to take a bit of time to get into my stride and have that confidence in my body again.
“I’ve got through two 90 minutes of football, now I’ve just got to keep getting through the games and building on my performances.
“I’m happy to get through the two games and hopefully I can contribute more now.”