Having watched Ben White this season, it is almost impossible to believe he had never played at a level above League One until this season.
White signed on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion in the summer following successful loan spells at Newport County and Peterborough United. The signing was met well by the fans, but many reasonably questioned whether a player with his resume could replace outgoing Sweden international Pontus Jansson - we need not have worried.
Ben White this season has been incredible, especially for a young, relatively inexperienced defender. He has been fantastic on the ball, both running and passing the ball out from the back very well, which is very important in a Marcelo Bielsa team. His defensive work has also been very good, particularly his ability to step in and make interceptions which has been consistently excellent.
He has played every minute of every league game this season and that is completely reasonable given his performances. The consistently high level of those performance has been incredible. The only dips in his game have been when he has moved forward into the “Kalvin Phillips Role”, this is reasonable given his lack of familiarity with the role, and he did improve in that role when he had a run of appearances due to Kalvin Phillips’ suspension.
Quite noticeable that in the period since Phillips went off and White moved into midfield, Reading's counters have been drying up. Far less of a feature. Almost into the last 20 minutes. 1-0. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHay_) February 22, 2020
Hopefully it’s with Leeds United, but no matter what shirt he is wearing he will be playing in the Premier League next season.
Stoke (A) - There were many I could have picked. In this game White showed everything I love about his game. Good on the ball, won everything that came near him, made an excellent goal saving header when Stoke did have a chance. He never once looked troubled, one of the games that had people calling his a “Rolls Royce” of a defender.
Ben White vs. Stoke:— LUFCDATA (@LUFCDATA) August 24, 2019
90% pass accuracy
62/69 successful passes (2nd-most)
11 ball recoveries (joint-most)
5 tackles won (most on pitch)
4 headed clearances (most)
3 interceptions (most on pitch)
This guy is the real deal. Superb performance. #LUFC pic.twitter.com/PHFzQASlPK
It caused me to say in the player ratings: “When I grow up I want to be Ben White (what do you mean he’s eight years younger than me?).”
Huddersfield (A) - He was ok in this game. His first time playing the “Phillips Role” and he didn’t look comfortable. He dropped very deep consistently and his passing and clearing of the ball was much scrappier than usual, understandable though.
SEASON (so far) RATING
He has been excellent. Another who is in the running for Player of the Year. I really hope we can keep hold of him. The quotes he gave give me hope because it seems like he would fancy it.
Ben White says he wants to get to & play in the PL with #lufc & 2nd in the table means it is achievable. Wasn’t commenting on whether new faces would help. Always devastated by defeat but says the belief & ability remain in the squad.— Adam Pope (@apopey) January 11, 2020
Season (so far) Rating: 8.5/10