Exclusive: Whelan left fretting by early Leeds team news ahead of Huddersfield clash
Noel Whelan admits he is worried after Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa confirmed Ben White would be playing as a midfielder versus Huddersfield.
The former Leeds striker and lifelong fan at Elland Road, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, says that while he has no doubts over White’s ability, he is concerned at what the team will lose in defence.
Bielsa revealed in his press conference that White would be taking the place of defensive midfielder Kalvin Phillips on Saturday afternoon, the 23-year-old suspended for the Whites.
💬 Marcelo on covering Kalvin's suspension this weekend: "We are working with [Ben] White on this position, he is going to substitute for Kalvin. It's a new position for him, but he has the skills to play there." pic.twitter.com/vNHWplsDaQ
— Leeds United (@LUFC) December 5, 2019
Whelan says he has no problems with White stepping into the void left ahead of him but admits he is concerned about the impact it could have at the heart of the defence.
Whelan told Football Insider: “He is definitely playing that role, no maybes about it, that is what Bielsa is doing – Ben White is going into the role of Kalvin Phillips.
“I’ve got no doubt he can play the role, he’s very good with the ball at his feet and he’s a very intelligent player and knows how to cover well.
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“My big issue is that I would much prefer him to keep that relationship with Liam Cooper at the back because you can afford to have a mistake in front of you as long as you’ve got those two solid centre-halves.
“I’m a little bit worried myself, if it pulls off it’s an absolute masterstroke, if it doesn’t, it goes to show how important Kalvin Phillips is.”
White has been an ever-present for Bielsa since joining the club on loan from Brighton, playing along both Cooper and Gaetano Berardi at the heart of the defence.
Phillips has also started every one of the club’s Championship fixtures, playing the full 90 minutes on all but two occasions.
In other Leeds United news, Whelan claims that Christmas has come early after the club agreed an attacking deal.