MOT View: Jansson v White - which defender has had the best season since summer moves?
Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa has been widely praised for his decision to offload Pontus Jansson in the summer and replace him with Ben White.
Although White, 22, was only signed on a season-long loan from Brighton, the young defender has helped improve Leeds’ defence by leaps and bounds while Jansson, 29, has had a similar impact since joining Brentford.
Jansson was handed the captain’s armband upon his arrival at Griffin Park and has quietly gone about his business with the Bees, who sit fourth in the Championship and have a defensive record that is only bettered by Leeds’.
But who has had the best season out of White and Jansson? Many have tipped White to be one of the players of the season in the Championship while you don’t hear much about Jansson. However the stats are quite surprising.
According to WyScout, Jansson has stood out massively in certain aspects of his game compared to White.
The Sweden international has a higher pass completion [90.7%] than White [88.2%] while the Brentford captain has also averaged more interceptions and clearances per 90 minutes of league football this season and won a higher percentage of aerial duels.
White is seen by many as a great ball-playing defender. Bielsa has taken the decision to play him as a defensive midfielder on a few occasions this season and although he hasn’t stood out there, it shows that the Leeds boss has faith in the centre-back’s ability with the ball at his feet.
Jansson is a big brute of a defender but a lot of his defensive stats aren’t anywhere near as good as White’s.
WyScout shows that Jansson has won 64.4 per cent of defensive duels this season to White’s 71.9 per cent. White has also averaged more sliding tackles, loose ball duels and recoveries per 90 minutes of Championship football than the ex-Leeds man.
In the attack, White has averaged more wins in offensive duels, progressive runs and more touches inside the penalty area.
While Jansson contributes more to Brentford’s possession-based style of football, White has done the same at Leeds while also being a lot more solid at his defensive duties while also causing issues for defenders at the other end of the pitch.
Leeds signed a gem in White in the summer and hopefully they can keep the 22-year-old past the end of his loan spell.
There is no denying that he has been the best centre-back in the Championship this season and an England call-up beckons for him in the future.
In other Leeds United news, Keith Andrews has discussed swapping out Jansson for White.