Former Hull City defender Alex Bruce has been left in awe of Ben White since the Brighton & Hove Albion centre-half joined Leeds United on loan.
White has made 36 outings for the Elland Road outfit since arriving on a one-season deal last summer, with boss Marcelo Bielsa trusting the 22-year-old to open 33 Championship fixtures, two Carabao Cup ties and an FA Cup trip to Premier League Arsenal.
Bielsa would even hand the Seagulls product big shoes to fill when the league curtain-raiser neared, with the club selling 2018/19 PFA Championship Team of the Year member Pontus Jansson a month before travelling to Bristol City.
White has rarely looked out shape in the second-tier since lacing his boots up at Ashton Gate, and Bruce has now likened the young talent to Italy great Fabio Cannavaro for being an unorthodox centre-half.
“I would have loved to have played with him,” Bruce told Football Insider. “He has been outstanding. I’ve been very impressed because you look at him, [and] he’s not the biggest.
Is Ben White the best centre-half in the Championship?
“Physically-wise, you look around the Championship and you think to yourself you’ll need a big, burly centre-half – a Sol Bamba type – to be successful, a Lewis Dunk, a [Shane] Duffy.
“He doesn’t really fit the mould of that, he’s a Cannavaro kind of centre-half where he’s smaller, good on the ball, good technique [and] he’s aggressive.”
White took to life at Elland Road like a duck to water last summer, with the defender clinching the PFA Fans’ Player of the Month award for August after receiving 44% of the votes.
He has since gone on to record a Championship-high 80 interceptions, and amass more successful tackles (56), passes blocked (18) and the third-most passes made (1,880) of all centre-backs in the second-tier, per WhoScored data.
In other Leeds United news, Director of Football Victor Orta has been condemned for targeting the wrong player during the January window.