By Noel Whelan

25th Feb, 2020 | 7:00pm

'This kid has so much ability' - Exclusive: Whelan begs Bielsa over Leeds player

Noel Whelan has pleaded with Marcelo Bielsa not to continue using Ben White as an emergency holding midfielder at Leeds United.

The ex-Whites striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, claimed if the 22-year-old wants “to be the best” he must play only at the heart of the defence.

White moved into central midfield in the 1-0 home win against Reading last Saturday after Kalvin Phillips was forced off the field with a dead leg after 37 minutes.

The injury prompted a significant reshuffle from Marcelo Bielsa: Phillips’ replacement Ezgjan Alioski moved to left-back, Stuart Dallas moving to right-back, Luke Ayling to centre-back and White into the midfield.

When asked for his assessment of the personnel switch-up in the opening half, Whelan told Football Insider“This kid has got so much ability. He can definitely play that role but if you are going to be the best at your position you need to be playing the position you have been brought through to do and that is centre-half.

“When Kalvin comes back in you see that difference.

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“Ben White’s key role is centre-half. No-one can cover round or defend as he can. There might be a five-yard difference but it makes a big difference.”

The defender joined United from Brighton on a season-long loan deal last summer and has fast become one of the first names on the team sheet at Elland Road.

The Englishman has made 34 appearances for Bielsa’s side this season as they look to return to the Premier League for the first time since 2004.

In other Leeds United news, Darren Bent has told Football Insider teammates need to do more to relieve pressure on 26-year-old.