MOT View: Leeds should heed local outlet advice and look at 22y/o as potential White replacement
Assuming that he leaves, replacing Ben White is going to be one of the toughest challenges that Leeds United face this summer.
Brighton have already made it fairly clear that they intend to keep hold of the defender for the foreseeable future, and after a campaign that has seen him become a mainstay of the Whites’ backline, his departure would leave a big void to fill.
But according to Leeds Live, one man Marcelo Bielsa should turn to is Norwich City defender Ben Godfrey.
Despite his side being rooted to the foot of the Premier League, the 22-year-old had impressed this season, and the local outlet identify him as one player who the Whites should look at if and when they take the Canaries’ spot in the top flight next term.
And you can understand the logic behind that suggestion.
So far this season, as per Wyscout, Godfrey has a total action success rate that is 4.5% higher than White’s, as well as having a pass completion rate of 92.7% – 4% higher than the loanee’s.
Defensively, he has made more interceptions, more clearances, and won more 50/50s per game too.
In his most recent outing for Norwich, a 1-0 defeat against Sheffield United, Godfrey made 12 interceptions – more than White has in any single game this season.
As pictured above, the most impressive thing about his display, however, were just how many of those interventions came in his own box.
Seven were made in or around his own six-yard box.
These weren’t just interceptions, these were vital pieces of defending that stopped his side from conceding a glut of goals.
And he’s good on the ball too.
We all know how much Marcelo Bielsa appreciates a defender who can play out from the back with calmness and confidence, and Godfrey fits that bill perfectly.
The pass map above is from Norwich’s FA Cup clash against Tottenham Hotspur in March.
Aside from the sheer density of Godfrey’s passing – and his success rate of 93% – the other thing that stands out is the range.
Yes, most of these balls are simple sideways passes, but there are also some wonderful, longer diagonals in there and some incisive passes between the lines.
Even a lot of those sideways passes serve a purpose, moving the ball out to the flank to allow a full-back to bomb forward with possession.
Again, that is a trait that you can imagine a certain Argentinian genius loving.
There are a lot of ifs and maybes in this one – the biggest being that Leeds have not expressed any kind of formal interest – but we believe they should follow Leeds Live’s advice and pursue Godfrey should White end up heading for the exit door.
In other Leeds United news, MOT View: Neil Harris mind games in recent interview won’t work on Leeds.