Noel Whelan says that Leeds United centre back Ben White has a one-track mind which sets him apart from other modern defenders.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Leeds striker and lifelong supporter says that the Brighton loanee, who joined from the Premier League side in the summer, is focused on defending and making sure he is in the right place at all times.
White has become an immediate first-choice in the starting XI for Marcelo Bielsa, playing all four of their games in both the Championship and the League Cup.
Whelan says that White’s desire to defend first and push forward second makes a change not only from former Leeds defender Pontus Jansson but from many modern-day centre backs.
Whelan told Football Insider: “He gives the ball and then gets back into his position. Even when there’s space there for him to drive into, he will, but then he’ll get back into his position.
“That, going back to Pontus Jansson, is something he wanted to do a little bit too much. I’m not criticising him for that, that’s just the way he was, but White’s first thought is: ‘I’m a defender.’
“That’s something you don’t see very much these days, you’ve centre-halves who want to be midfielders and that’s when they leave the space. His first thought is can I give it a midfielder and get back into my position. That is absolutely vital.”
The Championship is the highest level that the 21-year-old has played at, having been sent on loan to both League One and League Two sides in recent years.
He has just two appearances for parent club Brighton under his belt, both coming in the League Cup against Colchester and Oxford United.