Marcelo Bielsa has confirmed, in comments reported by Leeds Live, that Ben White will be the man to replace Kalvin Phillips for Leeds United’s clash with Huddersfield Town.
Phillips is suspended for Saturday’s game after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season against Middlesbrough. His absence is potentially a big loss for the Whites given the role that he plays.
Bielsa seemed to provide a big hint to his plans in the latter stages against Boro. White moved into midfield late on.
And the Leeds boss has now confirmed that the Brighton loanee looks set to be the man to fill the void against the Terriers.
“From a long period we are working with White in this position,” he said, as reported by Leeds Live. “He is going to replace him. Of course, it’s a new position for him. He has the skills to play there, but he’s not used to playing there. Always is something we don’t know what is going to happen.”
White does appear to have the characteristics to fill in for Phillips. Like the Whites academy graduate, he is comfortable driving out from the back with the ball. He is also able to pick out a pass.
There may be some supporters who are wary of White being moved out of defence. They may have hoped to see a youngster such as Robbie Gotts or Alfie McCalmont given a chance. Or perhaps they would have preferred to see another midfielder brought into that role.
But White has already proved to be Leeds’s surprise of the season with his form since replacing Pontus Jansson. So it should be no surprise if the decision to move him into the middle proves to be a masterstroke.