Leeds United centre-back Ben White believes he is capable of replacing Pontus Jansson at the heart of the Whites’ defence this season.
The 28-year-old has been an integral player for Leeds since he joined from Torino in 2016, making at least 34 Championship appearances in every season since.
In the 2018/19 campaign, he formed one of the strongest defensive partnerships in the league alongside captain Liam Cooper, with the duo finishing the season as two of the three highest-rated defenders in the league, according to Whoscored.
White joined Leeds on loan from Brighton earlier this summer and, according to journalist Phil Hay, he will partner Cooper for the upcoming campaign.
Speaking to the Yorkshire Post, the defender suggested that he was confident that he could replace the Swedish international.
Asked if he could step into Jansson’s shoes, he said: “Yes, I think so. I think I have got it in me to do it so we will see.
“I had a couple of clubs that wanted to take me but Leeds seemed the most interested. We had a meeting in the summer and we discussed what I was looking to do this season and it fitted with my aims. That’s why I came here.”
Pressed on his confident playing style, White added: “It’s what I do.
“I’m quite comfortable on the ball so when I see space I like to drive into it. I’m cool and calm, I like to play out from the back and I want to try and play as many games as I can.”
The 21-year-old has not traveled on the pre-season tour to Australia, staying at Thorp Arch to work on his fitness and get accustomed to Marcelo Bielsa’s methods instead.
The jury is very much still out on whether White is ready to replace Jansson but his confidence ahead of his first season at Elland Road is a good sign.
Other than two EFL Cup games for Brighton in 2016, the 21-year-old has never played senior football above League One level, so to step into a side that will be aiming to win the Championship this year will be no easy feat.
He has experience as a starting central defender from loan spells at Peterborough and Newport County but the step up in pressure at a club like Leeds will be huge, especially with expectation high on the Whites to achieve promotion this season.
There will be questions over whether he is ready but he clearly feels he is and it appears Bielsa does too, which at this point is the most important thing.