This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
Before the season got underway, Leeds fans were quick to voice concerns about their defence.
It was hardly a surprise either. After all, this was a team who had lost Pontus Jansson, a player who started 37 times last term whilst seeing their side hammered by Manchester United 4-0 in pre-season.
Following their opening day mauling of Chelsea, it doesn’t look like such a bad result. But the truth is, Leeds supporters were right to be concerned, especially after they didn’t return to the market in a defensive capacity.
Instead, Marcelo Bielsa decided to place his faith in the young Ben White, a player who had never appeared in the Championship before Leeds’ 3-1 win over Bristol City on the opening weekend.
He’d enjoyed a loan spell with Newport in 2017/18 whilst playing for Peterborough last term, but his senior football has been rather limited.
Yet on the evidence seen so far this season, he will surely become a regular name on the Leeds teamsheet.
The benefactor of Gaetano Berardi’s suspension at the back end of the 2018/19 campaign, White has taken to the Championship like a duck to water.
Bielsa has previously been reported as a big fan of the Brighton loanee and it’s clear to see why.
The 21-year-old is a typical modern-day defender. He likes to step out of defence and pick a pass, something that was displayed superbly last Saturday.
In one of his best moments during the game, he stepped forward and played a delightful ball into the channel for Patrick Bamford to pounce on.
It was a fabulous key pass from the defender who also completed one dribble throughout the match, displaying his calm nature.
Leeds conceded their equaliser in sloppy fashion as the ball ricocheted around the penalty area before somehow ending up in the back of the net.
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Yet that shouldn’t distract from White’s marvellous performance. He was brilliant with the ball at his feet whilst he was also impressive in defensive situations.
His outing was capped off by winning five tackles and completing three interceptions, per WhoScored.
Bielsa’s faith has been well and truly vindicated already.