Ben White is a promising young central defender on loan from Brighton, In this
White is a ball playing centre back whos major strengths are dribbling and ball distribution, this is exactly the type of player Bielsa was looking for as these abilities allow Leeds United to play out from the back with success. In League One last season he was elite in his dribbles per 90, as seen in the image above, ranking in the top 80%. This is a great asset as it allows White to break an opposition press so easily and we’ve already seen glimpse’s of this against Guiseley. His dribbling also pulls opposition players in and out of position which then opens up gaps in the opponent’s shape for Leeds to exploit this is a key part of Bielsa’s gameplan. If he isn’t breaking out of our defensive third with his explosive and fast-paced dribbles then he’s doing it with his eagle-eyed vision. Ben White’s range of pass is exceptional and his ability to always pick out the right pass is second to none, This is shown by the fact his pass accuracy is way above the league average but also his fwd pass accuracy% and final 3rd passes accuracy% is above average as well, showing that he always finds the open man and can progress the ball up the pitch with a lot success. This will be a needed improvement as last season Liam Cooper ranked 6th for combined progressive passes and runs per90 out of all Championship centre backs which is great, however Jansson didn’t even get into the top 20. White also possesses a calmness on the ball well beyond his age and almost never panics which allows him to play the ball around the back with such success as he never plays a panic pass and is always thought through.
Ben White, however, has big shoes to fill defensively, Jansson was undeniably one of the leagues best defenders last season and with his move to Brentford White is looking like his replacement. Last season he ranked in the top 10% for tackle success% and shots blocked per 90 out of all League One centre backs which is impressive. It shows he is an intelligent defender and doesn’t just dive in for the sake of it, instead picking his moment to put a foot in and recover possession. White has also had some very impressive performances most notably for Newport County when they drew 1-1 with a Spurs side containing Kane, Alli and Son. In that cup run his Newport side also beat an unimpresive Leeds United containing Grot, Lassoga and Berardi. However marking Grot and Lassoga must have been a challenge.
The images above show how Leeds United play out of the back. Above left image shows passing styles in the defensive third which shows Leeds play shorter passes at less forward pass gain. Above right image shows where passes are played to from the defensive third, darker the square the more the ball is passed to that location. There are no dark squares in the opposition half which shows Leeds’s commitment to playing out from the back at all time, it also shows we focus on playing out to Cooper and the left side. White will play as our right centre back and should balance this out as he is always showing for a pass and is keen to get on the ball to progress up the pitch. I expect him to have his best games against opposition that play two up front, This is because we play three at the back against two strikers which would mean White would play on the right in a three at the back giving him even more freedom to run with the ball and venture forward. He is perfect for Bielsa and just watching him against Guiseley showed that, he demonstrated all his attributes and showed every Leeds fan why Bielsa wants him. He isn’t just our replacement centre back, he is the man who will start those infamous BielsaBall goals like the second goal vs Guiseley where we carve teams apart with moves that start from our six-yard box and end in theirs. White’s ability to retain possession then distribute it is exactly the centre back we need and creatively is an upgrade.
There are a few worries about Ben White, One is his height. He is 6’1 which is by no means small, but, Jansson was 6’4 and a magnet to anything in the air so losing that height makes us slightly more vulnerable to set pieces especially as White ranked very low in aerial duels per90 and aerial duels won% last season. He is also very unproven making only 16 appearances for Peterborough last season after being loaned out in the January window and has never played in or above the Championship before. So this will be a step up but a logical one as two seasons ago he was in League Two, last season League One so logically he is ready for that step up.
Thanks to @rramesss and @SwansAnalytics for the images and statistics provided go check them out and give them a follow.
Written By TheYoungPeacock, Thanks For Reading