Darren Bent has suggested that Leeds United could beat Liverpool to the permanent signing of Ben White next summer after catching the eye of the Premier League giants at Elland Road.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Aston Villa and England striker says that the young centre back, who is on loan at Leeds from Brighton, needs to establish himself as a top-flight quality defender before moving to one of the big boys of English football.

As revealed by Football Insider, the 21-year-old is on Liverpool’s radar after impressing for Marcelo Bielsa’s men this season, with Brighton valuing the centre-back at around £20million.

Bent says that while opportunities to move to one of the Premier League giants do not come around all that often, the young defender needs to walk before he can run and suggests a spell at his parent club, or even a permanent move to Leeds if they are promoted, will do him the world of good.

Bent told Football Insider: “What he needs to do, don’t worry about Liverpool, go back to Brighton and nail down a spot there first. Rather than jumping six, seven levels – you’re talking about trying to move (Virgil) van Dijk and Joe Gomez and Joel Matip.

“Go back to Brighton first, nail down a spot, play really well and then he’ll get his move. Don’t jump straight to the top, I get it, these opportunities don’t come around often but for his own development, he needs to just slow himself down.

“It’s always brilliant being linked with the top four but concentrate on your football first. You never know, Leeds might get promoted, you’re comfortable there, you’re solid there, you could move there (permanently) and then move on from there (in the future).”

White has been a mainstay for Leeds since replacing Pontus Jansson at the back, playing every minute of the club’s Championship campaign.

The 21-year-old has not made a single senior appearance for Brighton before joining the Whites temporarily, having spent time on loan in League One and League Two in recent years.

In other Leeds United news, Bent has revealed he is baffled by one senior player’s “weird” situation at Elland Road.