Ben White has told The Times that he was concerned he had annoyed Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa in his last appearance for the Yorkshire side while on loan from Brighton last season – after scoring in a 4-0 win over Charlton Athletic with promotion already secured.
White, 23, is no longer a Leeds player but an established Premier League performer for Graham Potter’s Brighton. He has been a crucial member of their side since rejoining the Seagulls following his season-long loan spell at Elland Road last season – where he featured in every single one of the club’s 49 league and cup appearances, as they gained promotion to the top tier.
White was instrumental. Coming in as an unknown on loan from Brighton having only played for Peterborough and Newport County temporarily beforehand, Bielsa noticed his performances and brought him to Elland Road to replace Pontus Jansson. It was a risky decision, but one that paid off and beyond. Other than Kalvin Phillips, he was probably the club’s best player last term.
But Brighton kept him, despite numerous offers and White clearly wanting to go. A new deal was signed at The Amex after Brighton made their stance clear and fast forward to now, and White is still talking about Leeds. In his latest interview, with The Times, the defender spoke of how he was worried that when scoring his only Leeds goal – he was worried that he had annoyed Bielsa for being out of position.
“That goal, I’m not sure really how I’ve done it. You won’t see one of them for a while. I was actually in the wrong position. I should have been in the box to score a header, but luckily it went in, so I didn’t get into any trouble,” White said, even though his effort flew into the top corner and was one of the best goals of a memorable 2019-20 campaign.
It is clear to see just how intricate Bielsa’s requests are. For White to be concerned he had annoyed his manager for being in the wrong position – despite scoring – also shows the respect that Bielsa has among his players. His ‘Murderball’ sessions have been spoken about in length by the likes of Luke Ayling, Patrick Bamford, Rodrigo and plenty of others this season.
Will Huffer, the goalkeeper that played once under Bielsa during his first season, spoke to LeedsUnited.News about what Murderball was like for a goalkeeper – and now White has given an in-depth description of the intensity in which Bielsa puts his starting XI under ahead of the weekend’s match.
“It’s so tough,” White continues. “They do six-minute slots, so the starting XI will stay on for six sessions of six minutes, but the other team would be rotated and fresh coming on and running us ragged, really. It was about the intensity and playing under fatigue, to get us fit.”