Not long ago, Leeds United’s Aidy White was trying to solidify his claim for the left-back role. Now though, he’s just trying to work his way back into the starting XI.
Manager Neil Warnock mainly utilised White on the left wing for the majority of the season, but while the Irish U-21 player sees left-back as his best position, he will give it his all anywhere he’s played.
“Long-term I probably see myself as more of a left-back, but I think the manager sees me as a bit more attacking, a bit more of a winger,” said White.
"I'm happy to play in any position as long as I'm playing, I'll always go out and give it my all. But in terms of my best position, my best games for Leeds so far have been as a left-back.
"In January I had that nice four or five-game run in the side when I was playing left-back consistently and I thought I did quite well.
Neil Warnock’s employing of White on the wing seems to stem mainly from the Irishman’s blistering pace. What the defender lacks in attacking nous he makes up for in raw speed.
When questioned on whether or not he was the fastest player in the United squad, White said: “Possibly. Rudy (Austin) is very quick once he gets into his stride, there's a few of us in the squad.
"Dom Poleon, he's on loan at Sheffield United at the minute, but he's quite quick and Luke Varney's quite sharp. There's a good few up there at the club, but I'd say I'd back myself."
And chances are, he wouldn’t be wrong. Aidy White is one of the fastest players in the Championship, let alone at Leeds.
And while his speed comes in handy on the pitch, White has spent most of the new year on the bench, but has been making the most of his time in trying to learn from his replacement at left-back: 31-year-old ex-England international Stephan Warnock.
United’s Manager Neil Warnock signed his namesake Stephan in January and the former England international has made White's favourite position his own.
"It's frustrating obviously," White said.
"I was playing nearly every game last season and this time I've been in and out and on the bench for most of it.
"So it's very frustrating, but I've got to look on the positive side of things.
"Stephen Warnock has come in and he's a fantastic player.
"I look at him and try and learn from him because he's an ex-England international.
"I've already picked up a few pointers off him so when I do get back in the team, hopefully sooner rather than later, I'll improve myself as a player.
"Especially as he's in the same position as me, as frustrating as it is not playing, I do like to look on the positive side of things and if I can learn off Stephen and improve then I will."
It’s my personal opinion that Aidy White has been hard done by this season. While I feel Stephan Warnock is a good player and is potentially our manager’s best signings, I also feel that White should’ve been given more of a chance to stake his claim for left-back; something that’s hard to do on the wing and even harder from the bench.
It’s the position White has been aiming for and yet he finds himself on the wing more often than not due to his pace. It’s no secret that United’s manager misuses the wings – he usually plays non-wingers such as Diouf, Varney and White in the vital attacking roles and they rarely hug the touchline and don’t put in enough crosses and we find ourselves lacking variety in attack and eventually resorting to Route One and Browney’s hoofs.
We’re not capable of tiki-taka or total football and anytime we play a player out of position it doesn’t come off as clever cover or a tactical trick, it just looks like misuse. I personally hope that Warnock retires soon and we get a better manager who’ll recognised the potential of the squad and let the youngsters compete for their preferred positions and if they’re good enough they’ll get earn their start there.
And if all goes to plan we could have two speedy wing-backs in White and Sam Byram and a dominating, experienced centre-half in Tom Lees, we just have to wait a few years…and hope they don’t wind up in Norwich.