The common query on the lips of most fans over Summer was the question of a centre back. With Pontus Jansson out the door and the only sign of a replacement being a young loanee centre back who hasn’t got a minute of Championship experience under his belt, the fears were always going to be present.
Thus far however, this has simply not been the case.
This is highlighted by the solutions offered by other players this forthcoming weekend in the absence of Liam Cooper. Alongside Ben White, Leeds have the choice of bringing in Gaetano Berardi, the most likely candidate, or Luke Ayling, who is returning from injury but is, of course, a centre back by trade but has been fashioned into a right wing-back under Marcelo Bielsa. There is also the possibility of Kalvin Phillips being utilised at centre-back. All in all, Leeds did well not to cave into fears of squad depth in this position, meaning resources can be utilised elsewhere should they be necessary.
Credit must also go to Ben White himself. The magnificent. His defensive ability has positioned himself as a leading Championship centre-back. Through his smart positional play, he is rarely beaten and is also able to compete against strikers of far greater physicality. However, his most outstanding attribute his is ability and vision with the ball. Whether it be smart, short passes to play Leeds out of pressure or the more Hollywood cross-field balls in the style of Kalvin Phillips to create a Leeds attack, White displays a comfort and the confidence of a player many years his senior.
For years, Leeds have been longing for a solid and reliable centre-back pairing. The first names on the team-sheet, the last line of defence. At long last, we may have found just that.
…now to find a way to keep them fit.