Ben White this season was a revelation for Leeds United and sporting director Victor Orta commented that the club was unsure if they wanted to bet on the signatures.
Having never played in the league before this season, many were surprised when Marcelo Bielsa signed Brighton central defender Ben White to fill the void left by Pontus Jansson’s departure to Brentford in the summer.
Whites have been one of the big favorites to get automatic promotion this season, just like they were last term. However, with White’s arrival, there seems to be much more confidence in Bielsa’s system with him on the back than the late Swede, given how confident White was on the ball and played from behind.
There have been question marks about Leeds’ defense in the past few weeks, as their shape has declined sharply, with targets shipped much easier than before.
Most will still agree that White’s fate will still remain in the Premier League next season after he has reached second level, whether it’s Brighton, Leeds or any team that wants to sign it.
Speaking to Leeds LiveVictor Orta commented on White’s time in Leeds and how they came across the 22-year-old for the first time. He said: “I’m not the only person who works [on these things].
“[Head of Performance Analysis] Alex Davies mentioned Ben White to me and it’s true after the game against Newport County, I was really impressed.
“Ben White was my brave decision because another football manager may have taken the typical loan from the Premier League or confirmed league player, but we were convinced by Ben White because we believe he is a good player.
“Maybe this is more my style, it can be a little more risky. I don’t know the word. It is because, behind me, I trust my people to make these decisions and after that I am the decision maker with the head coach.
“In football nothing is true, nothing is false. Ben White really is [the] proud work of the scouting department.
“We have to give the player credit. There are four areas. Nobody expected this strong mentality he has. For me, it deserves credit for this.
“Create your first professional game in the league, far away in Bristol [City], and be the best on the pitch – wow. So obviously we feel proud. “
Orta acknowledged that he wasn’t sure if Leeds would be able to tie him past this season, knowing that he would definitely be a Premier League footballer starting in August.
“Nobody can predict the future,” he added. “The only thing certain in the world is that we will die. The rest is unpredictable. We’re talking about a Premier League player. “
How much do you know about Leeds new purchases?
Orta often receives criticism from Leeds fans for some of the most questionable assumptions made in recent years, but there is no doubt that unearthing White was a master stroke.
Leeds will struggle to maintain White’s services next season with a host of Premier League clubs ready to tempt him away from the AMEX stadium, but there is no doubt that at least the next term will be in the league.
All the Leeds and Whites they should focus on at the moment are ensuring they are in the top flight next year and the central defender will have been a crucial part of this if they did.
Being always present in Marcelo Bielsa’s high intensity system is no small thing and, apart from any injury or suspension, it is practically unrepeatable at this point.