‘Unbelievable’ White keen to maintain focus

Ben White says that praise for his impressive performances for Leeds United so far this season is nice to hear, but he knows he has to keep delivering out on the field in the Championship.

By Alex Stedman • 06 November 2019

By REX/Shutterstock.
Ben White in action for Leeds against Sheffield Wednesday.

The on-loan Albion defender has received plaudits aplenty for his exploits for the Yorkshire side so far this term. White has made 17 appearances in all competitions for the Yorkshire side, playing every minute of league action and being an integral part of the team that boasts the best defensive record in the division.

Marcelo Bielsa’s men have conceded just eight goals in their 12 league matches to date, but the August PFA Fans’ Player of the Month was keen to stress his desire not to let his levels of application drop as the campaign continues.

He said, “There is attention and praise and it’s really nice to see and hear it, but I know that I just have to keep focusing on making sure I’m the best I can be every time I step out onto the field.

“People keep saying how well I’m doing but I know I have to keep my head down and continue working hard for the team to make sure we get the results we need to achieve our aim at the end of the season.”

Teammate Adam Forshaw also praised White’s performances in recent weeks, saying, “He is unbelievable. He is a John Stones type, he hasn’t shown any sign of making a mistake yet and he hasn’t put a foot wrong. 

“He is so cool on the ball and clever, he might not be the most physical centre-back, but he’s just clever. He looks a top, top player and we’re lucky to have him.” 

By REX/Shutterstock
Ben White contests a challenge against QPR last weekend.

The 21-year-old reflected on the dressing room that he walked into during the summer, speaking about his central defensive partner in particular and highlighting the work the team did in the off-season as being pivotal to their current fortunes. 

“What Adam said was nice to hear from one of my teammates, it’s a really good group and I’ve throughly enjoyed being part of the dressing room so far,” he continued.

“Playing alongside Liam [Cooper] has been great too, he’s been really good for me. His experience is really important for the side and he’s helped me to fit in with the team and will keep pushing me on to perform in the best way I can. We’ve kept our form strong and I’m delighted with how it’s gone so far, we’re doing really well.

“The hard work we put in during the week is showing in our results, as well as the things we did during pre-season before a ball was kicked. 

"The manager’s attention to detail has been massive, I’ve said it before in interviews but it was different to what I was used to and I had to work hard before the season started - now it’s about doing what he wants from me on a consistent basis.”

By REX/Shutterstock.
Ben White helped Leeds to another clean sheet on Saturday.

Bielsa’s side currently occupy third position in the second tier and host Blackburn Rovers this weekend, where White could well face fellow Albion loanee Christian Walton, with the goalkeeper also currently out on loan with Tony Mowbray’s team.

He compared the Championship to his previous experiences with Newport County and Peterborough United and also discussed the growing number of Seagulls faces currently plying their trade in the Football League.

“It’s a competitive division and it’s been hard work physically - we train every day and don’t get too much time off, but I’m used to that sort of schedule from my time with Newport County in League Two. 

“This is the highest level I’ve played at in my career so far - it’s a mixture of physicality and good technical players within the teams that come down from the Premier League, it’s testing all aspects of my game.

“There’s a number of us from Brighton out on loan in the league at the moment, I came across Jayson Molumby the other week when we played Millwall and we caught up after the match. It shows the amount of quality that the academy is producing at Brighton, there are a lot of us who are out on loan in this league this season - it’s a really good sign of the progress of the football club.”