Marcelo Bielsa doesn’t just sign any old centre-back.
You’ve got to have more than aerial presence and a crunching challenge in your locker if you want to play at the heart of his backline. Consider Ben White; the defender Bielsa headhunted to replace cult hero Pontus Jansson at Leeds United over the summer.
The 21-year-old Brighton loanee isn’t a chest-thumping warrior like the Viking-esque Jansson. Quiet and unassuming, he’s precisely the opposite.
But White has what Jansson perhaps didn’t; a wonderful passing range and the ability to play the ball out of the back like a central midfielder reared in La Masia. Bielsa is the ultimate managerial purist, a man who values possession and confidence on the ball above everything else. White fits in perfectly.
So with Leeds linked with a move for little-known Hamilton stopper George Stanger by the Evening Times, it is no surprise that the New Zealand U23 international prides himself upon his technical ability.
“Always, always, always make sure you defend first,” the 20-year-old told The Times when asked to define his approach to the game back in April.
“But for the modern centre-back, it’s crucial to be able to play out from the back, to have the ability and passing range to do that.”
Stanger is yet to make his league bow for Hamilton with his only senior action coming at Stirling Albion in the 2017/18 season.
But Leeds, who are seemingly keen to sign the youngster permanently when the transfer window opens in 2020, have obviously seen something special in this 6ft 2ins centre-back. And, with Stanger fully aware of the importance of a modern, ball-playing style, he shouldn't have any problems adapting to life at Elland Road.
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