‘It would mean the world’: Ben White is heading to the top but wants to help Leeds triumph in the Championship and reach the Premier League first
- Defender Ben White has had an excellent season on loan to Leeds from Brighton
- The 22-year-old impressed again as Leeds saw off Reading at home on Saturday
- The Whites won 1-0 and are nearing promotion at the top of the Championship
Eyebrows were raised last summer when Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa sold defender Pontus Jansson to promotion rivals Brentford and replaced him with Brighton’s Ben White.
The 22-year-old has thrived under Bielsa during a season-long loan and his displays have seen him linked with Liverpool, Manchester United and Wolves.
Brighton see White as a key part of their plans and he appears a decent bet to be playing Premier League football next season, regardless of whether Leeds end their 16-year exile from the top flight.
Ben White has been superb for Leeds as they have starred in the Championship this season
Marcelo Bielsa loaned the young defender from Brighton and has been handsomely rewarded
‘Who knows?’ was White’s diplomatic reply when asked about the prospect of a permanent switch to Elland Road. He was more forthcoming about the prospect of helping win promotion.
‘It would mean the world,’ he said. ‘I don’t think there would be a better team to do it with.’
White’s latest display helped Bielsa’s men to another precious win, which lifted them five points clear of third place with 12 games remaining.
When midfielder Kalvin Phillips was forced off in the first half with a calf problem, White was pushed up from centre back into the middle of the park to impressive effect. His defensive and technical qualities have seen him prosper in both positions this season.
Pablo Hernandez (left) scored the winner as Leeds won 1-0 at home to Reading on Saturday
‘It’s been very different but I’m learning every day,’ White said. ‘I had never played in midfield before this season. It’s tougher, but I enjoy it and it’s something I’m trying to work on.’
Phillips’ injury is not serious, encouraging hopes he could be fit for Wednesday’s trip to Middlesbrough.
Pablo Hernandez’s winner in the 57th minute was expertly taken, stabbing in after his first effort had been stopped, although it needed a dramatic late save from goalkeeper Kiko Casilla to seal the points. Casilla’s FA hearing into an alleged racist remark towards Charlton striker Jonathan Leko in September took place in London last week.
A verdict is expected soon, with fears of a long ban.
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