Brighton goalkeeper Christian Walton has predicted that Leeds United loanee Ben White will be “ready to come back” to his parent club and challenge for a first team spot this summer.
The centre-back made a major impact at Elland Road last season, establishing himself as an ever-present for Marcelo Bielsa’s men in the heart of defence.
But his impressive form has made him hot property over the past 12 months, and the Seagulls have already made it clear that they are keen to keep the 22-year-old at the Amex Stadium for as long as possible.
That update seemingly left Leeds’ hopes of recapturing White’s services for next season looking pretty slim, and now his teammate Walton has claimed that the defender will be happy to try and force his way into Brighton’s plans, rather than angling for a move away from the club in the coming weeks.
Speaking to the Seagulls’ official website, he said: “Ben has definitely got a big future ahead of him.
“I played against him twice this season – he’s been playing in an unbelievable team at Championship level with a manager that is renowned around the world.
“He’s been part of a team where winning has become a habit, playing in front of an unbelievable crowd at Elland Road which I’m sure does give you a boost.
“It must have been a great experience for him to go through that at his age and I think he will be ready to come back to Brighton, like myself, and challenge for a place in the team.”
With each passing update it feels less and less likely that Ben White will be a Leeds player next season.
The 22-year-old was nothing short of superb in our promotion campaign and will always hold a special place in supporters’ hearts, but it’s no real surprise that Brighton are so eager to hang on to him.
The fact that a Championship defender is already being spoken about as a potential England call-up by Gareth Southgate himself speaks volumes as to how impressive White was last term, and you wouldn’t bet against him kicking on again in the top flight.
For a while it has felt as if the only chance Leeds would have of bringing him back to Elland Road would be if the player himself agitated for a move, but if Walton’s prediction is correct, that looks as if it is a waning likelihood.
In other Leeds United news, ‘Sources close to Bielsa’ – Phil Hay delivers major update on new manager contract at Leeds.