EXCLUSIVE

Noel Whelan has insisted that Gaetano Berardi is not the answer to Leeds United’s centre-back problem but suggested Ben White “may be the surprise package” next season.

United have sold three centre-backs in the last week including the headline sale of fans favourite Pontus Jansson to Brentford in a move that left many supporters angry and frustrated.

It leaves Leeds with just three senior centre-backs in skipper Liam Cooper, recent loanee capture White and Berardi, who was only converted to the position last year after spending the entirety of his career at full-back.

The Championship outfit have also sold two of their youthful centre-backs in the last week, with Aapo Halme signing for Barnsley and Liam Kitching joining Forest Green.

“Berardi is not your fix,” Whelan told Football Insider. “He is a good, honest player and a good lad in the dressing room, but he is not the centre-back we need.

“Ben White may be the surprise package, but we need more players in defence. We are two centre-backs short after selling Jansson and Halme.

“I’m hoping this process is going to lead to signings and the plan coming to fruition.”

White joined Leeds on a season-long loan from Premier League club Brighton at the start of this month.

The 21-year-old spent the second half of last season on loan at League One club Peterborough after previously being at Newport County on loan.

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