Former Leeds United defender Danny Mills says Marcelo Bielsa will be making the wrong decision if he takes Ben White out of his side’s defence to play in midfield against Huddersfield Town on Saturday.
Kalvin Phillips is set to miss the clash with the Terriers through suspension after picking up his fifth booking of the season in Leeds’ 4-0 win over Middlesbrough on Saturday, and Bielsa has Suggested that it could be the Brighton loanee who takes his place in the centre of midfield.
That however is something that Mills believes would be a mistake, due to the extent that Leeds’ defence would be weakened without White in it.
Speaking to Football Insider about the possibility of White playing in midfield on Saturday, Mills said: “I would leave Ben White exactly where he is, I wouldn’t tinker with it. I think he is a fantastic player.
“I think it’s very, very difficult. As a centre-half, everything is in front of you, you have certain pictures.
“Flip it the other way round, when Fernandinho drops into centre-back for Manchester City – you can get away with it for two or three games, to do it long term you have to rely on instinct.”
Discussing the challenges playing out of position can present to any player, Mills continued: “You can’t react, you can’t wait for things, you have to be almost preemptive, you almost have to do things and be in the position before they happen.
“That’s the problem when you’re not used to playing that position day in, day out. Occasionally you just get caught out.
“Leave your strongest players in your strongest positions rather than moving two or three around and making two or three positions weaker.”
Since joining on a season-long loan from Brighton in the summer transfer window, White has established himself as a key figure in Leeds’ side, playing every single minute of their league campaign so far, helping to ensure they go into Saturday’s clash with Huddersfield second in the Championship standings.
I can sort of see where Mills is coming from here.
White has been absolutely outstanding in the centre of Leeds’ defence so far this season, and that presence is not something they are going to lose against a Huddersfield side who, in Karlan Grant, have one of the most prolific attackers in the league this season.
However, White has also shown recently that he can also be an effective operator when moving further forward up the pitch with the ball at his feet, suggesting that he could still be able to make an impact from a midfield role on Saturday.
It will be interesting to see exactly what position White does start in on Saturday, and just how it will affect the course of the game.