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Could Ben White fill Kalvin Phillips role if Leeds star’s suspended?

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Leeds United

Could Ben White fill Kalvin Phillips role if Leeds star’s suspended?

While he may be frustrated about the number of Leeds United players sidelined with injury, Marcelo Bielsa will probably be relieved that Kalvin Phillips is yet to have been struck down.

Phillips – who has started every Championship league game this season – looks to be the player that Bielsa would find most difficult to replace. His role is so important to Bielsa’s system, and losing him to injury would be a huge blow.

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Fortunately for Leeds, he is yet to pick up an injury. But he is in a precarious position after collecting his fourth yellow card of the season in the weekend’s 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers.

Phillips will now receive a one-match ban if he is cautioned in any of Leeds’s next three games. And it seems unlikely that Bielsa would want the 23-year-old to modify his game simply to ensure that he gets through the fixtures without a problem.

Losing him therefore, appears to be a real possibility. And who replaces him could be a hugely important decision for Bielsa to make.

The obvious candidate would perhaps be Adam Forshaw. But he has been injured for several weeks. And it remains unclear when he will return. Meanwhile, the likes of Jamie Shackleton, if fit, and Robbie Gotts may also come into contention.

But perhaps the best candidate may actually be another player who has started every league game this season. And it may be a name that most fans had not considered.

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Could Ben White step in?

Ben White has not put a foot wrong since joining Leeds. He has been outstanding at centre-back alongside Liam Cooper. And he is probably the player that most fans would want signed first if Leeds are promoted this season.


His defensive work has been brilliant. But he has also received enormous praise for the impact that he can make going forward. Leeds fans regularly see the youngster driving out from the back with the ball. And there is no question that he can spray some delicious long passes out to the flanks.

It would not be easy to produce the same performance Phillips regularly produces. But he has shown that he has the potential to tick a lot of the same boxes.

So rather than throw Gotts or Alfie McCalmont into the side – and you can never discount the idea that Stuart Dallas may get the chance to show what he can do in another role – perhaps Bielsa would be best off bringing Gaetano Berardi in alongside Cooper and pushing White up into Phillips’s role.

The ideal scenario for Leeds would be for Phillips to get through the next three games without a yellow card. But if he does get suspended, perhaps White may be the answer.

Giving how he has shone so far, it would be no surprise if he only needed one performance to convince fans that he was born to play there.

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