A promising teenage footballer had a bottle thrust in his face during an alleged assault.

Brighton and Hove Albion reserve team centre-half Gary Elphick needed five stitches to treat a wound above his lip following the incident.

The alleged attack took place after the 18-year-old apprentice player went on a night out in the centre of Brighton on Saturday.

He had earlier met up with Albion players after they returned to Brighton following the team's FA Cup clash against Tottenham Hotspur.

Police were called to Middle Street, Brighton, shortly before 12.30am, Sunday, when they received reports of an incident involving four men.

Elphick suffered a cut across his face when an empty Smirnoff Ice bottle was allegedly thrust at him.

He was recovering at his Brighton home yesterday but declined to comment on the incident.

Elphick is hoping to win a pro contract at Albion and has made an impression playing for Conference South side St Albans as part of his work experience.

He comes from a footballing family and his brother Tommy, 16, is a first-year apprentice at the Albion and also a centre-half.

Their father, Lewes football club coach Gary, played for Stoke and Leyton Orient, Sussex and countless Sussex clubs.

A club spokesman said Elphick was recovering well. "We can confirm that one of our players was the victim of an assault on Saturday evening," he said "The incident is being investigated by Sussex Police. We cannot make any further comment."

A police spokeswoman said: "Police were on the scene within two minutes and one man was arrested.

"The victim claimed to have been hit by a bottle and had a nasty gash above his lip.

"The man arrested was bailed while further inquiries are made."

The spokeswoman said no one had been charged with any offence yet.