Ben White was one of Marcelo Bielsa’s top targets this summer, along with Jack Harrison, Helder Costa and Ryan Kent.
In the end Leeds got all but Kent over the line but while Costa created the most buzz, White has arguably impressed the most in white so far.
When he signed Leeds fans weren’t sure if he would walk straight into the team but an article from Brighton outlet The Argus gave the clearest clue. It said that Brighton would walk away from any deal that didn’t promise him first-team football.
As it stands, White has played all three games for Leeds this season and whatever his deal says, his form means he will be first-choice centre-back along with Liam Cooper on Saturday against Wigan.
White came with a reputation of being calm and composed on the ball, perfect for the Bielsa style of play, and his stats prove that so far.
According to Leeds United StatZone, White made more passes than any other player in the 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest – 79 to Stuart Dallas’ 74. He also made the most interceptions and the joint-most tackles with Kalvin Phillips.
He was awarded the second-highest rating of the game by WhoScored, second-only to Mateusz Klich.
???? @ben6white made more passes than any other player in the game between #LUFC and #NFFC at the weekend. The defender also made the most interceptions (3) and joint-most tackles (5 – level with @Kalvinphillips). #EFL #MOT pic.twitter.com/cFvLcpiTIt
— Leeds United StatZone (@lufcsz) August 13, 2019
In the game against Salford he put in a similarly impressive display. According to LUFCDATA he made 49 successful passes (the second-most), the most clearances (seven), most blocks (three) and the most ball recoveries (nine).
We would go as far as to say that the White/Liam Cooper partnership is better than the Pontus Jansson/Cooper partnership from last season.
The only downside is the lack of height which makes Leeds more vulnerable from set-pieces.
To counter that, Kiko Casilla is coming out and punching more, and he was successful doing this in the game against Salford.
It’s definitely a weakness that Championship teams will try to exploit, though, and something Bielsa needs to counter.
Overall though, in White, Bielsa seems to have found a real star who will be a rock for the side this season. For a 21-year-old who’s playing at the highest level of his career, he’s very impressive indeed.