Ben White is setting his sights on establishing himself at the heart of Albion’s defence, after signing a new long-term contract – but knows he faces stiff competition from within the squad.
The 22-year-old has hardly been out of the news this summer, but having agreed a new four-year deal he said, “I am pleased to get it all done, and now I am looking forward to playing for the club in the Premier League.
“It’s been a long time coming, I have been out on loan for three years now, but now I am back and I want to try and make an impact here.
“My aim is to be in the starting XI when we face Chelsea for our first game of the season. I want to make my mark.
“There’s always been really good centre-backs here, that’s why I have had to bide my time before making that step.
“We’re all going to be pushing each other to play well on the Saturday, because there’s always going to be someone who wants your spot.”
White says he will be forever grateful to Leeds United and head coach Marcelo Bielsa for the opportunity they gave him last season.
He played every minute in their title-winning Championship season as the Whites won promotion to the Premier League.
“It’s hard to put into words how good last year was. Playing week-in, week-out in the Championship was amazing in a really strong team, which really helped how I want to play.
“It was a really good year, we finished as champions and got the club back into the Premier League, which is where they want to be.”
White revealed it wasn’t all plain sailing on his arrival at Elland Road, though, adding, “When I arrived there I got put with the under-23s, so I thought ‘oh dear!’.
“The Friday before the first game against Bristol City, Marcelo Bielsa put me in the first team changing room, so that was a relief.”
He never looked back from that moment on, and a year under Bielsa was hugely beneficial to his development.
“I learned so much from him. It was the detail in every aspect of the game that he put the work into.
MA+ members & STH only - Log-in required
“His coaching was all about details, the minor details, things like how the ball spins when you pass it, how you’re passing it, why you’re passing it.
“I also want to thank the Leeds supporters, they were unbelievable every single week. Even when they weren’t allowed to be there!
“They were very good to me, and were always really supportive to me and the rest of the team – and the club will always be special to me.
“I hope the fans will be allowed back by the time we play there, and I just hope that I will get a good reception when we go back!”