ALBION snatched Solly March from under the nose of Championship promotion rivals Newcastle, his agent has revealed.

The North-East giants and Millwall were hot on the trail of March when he was a teenager and Albion snapped the winger up from Lewes.

His representative Robert Codner told The Argus: “Solly was going to sign for Newcastle. He went up there. He had a tragedy, something happened to his best friend.

“He took it quite badly, so Newcastle sent him back. That was the window for Brighton to become involved. Millwall were involved as well. Brighton jumped in and got the deal done.”

Albion face promotion showdowns at the Amex against Reading on Saturday (5.30) and Newcastle next Tuesday (7.45).

March has played a part in 13 of the last 15 matches since ending 11 months sidelined with cruciate knee ligament damage.

He was selected for England under-21s by Gareth Southgate, now the senior boss, before his injury.

Ex-Albion midfielder Codner said: “The exciting thing for me was him getting picked for England. He’s very well thought of in the England set-up. If his progression continues the way I think it can, there is no reason why he cannot play for England. He’s one of he best left-sided players in the country.”

Retired club legend Bobby Zamora was impressed by March when visiting his former team-mates yesterday in the build-up to the crunch clashes at the Amex. Zamora tweeted to March: “Looking sharp. Well done on the comeback.”