When you’ve got a former player on your side in an argument, it gives you a little sense of vindication.
And whilst he’s not exactly said my words verbatim, there is one part of it that is pretty much spot on with what I was trying to get across.
I said earlier today that the club needed to start coming up with a better alternative to using Ben White to replace Kalvin Phillips as a defensive midfielder, predominantly looking ahead to next season where we might not have White at our disposal anymore. That was looking towards the future, however former Leeds United man Noel Whelan believes we should be taking the same approach, but with more emphasis based on the present.
Speaking to Football Insider, Whelan believes that it’s more or less a waste of his talent bringing White out of his natural position, and that to get the best out of him and the team, he needs to stay where he is:
“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. 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.”
Should Ben White be our 'go to' option when it comes to defensive midfield?
White has come in for huge amounts of praise this season, from fans, the media and even some Premier League teams for his work as a centre-back this season, so it’s clear to see where his best position is, and if Marcelo Bielsa is to maintain this push for promotion, then we need everyone to be at their best, and that means playing them at a position that gets the most out of them.
Hopefully, Phillips won’t need to be replaced at any point between now and the end of the season, but if he does, then Bielsa needs to try and find another option than going with White, because whilst we may gain something in midfield, as pointed out by Whelan, we’re missing out on something in defence when we do.