During a discussion over the weekend regarding Aidy White’s best position it occurred to me that the reason we want him to play at left back AND on the left side of midfield (especially in the 4-2-3-1 system), is that he has something that we have, for the last decade, lacked in any recognisable quantity: PACE. It’s almost as if we have an institutional distrust of quick players.

Since our fall from the Prem only really a fired up Beckford and Mad Max have offered genuine, afterburner pace to beat opponents purely for pace. Sure, Lewis, Healy and Howson (and perhaps a small handful of others) were/are not embarrassed for a turn of foot, but they are not exactly in the ‘speed merchants’ class either.

As a result our attacking play for the past few years has tended to be deliberate and ‘measured’ rather than lethal and incisive. Even now, our best wide man for a generation (to be discussed) in Robert Snodgrass has searing pace as his one missing quality I would argue.

At the back, who doesn’t still wake up in a cold sweat at the Butler/Gregan partnership post relegation? Carlisle, Foxe and Marques did only a little to enhance, with perhaps only Kilgallon the exception who could stay with a speeding forward played through.

Memories of Richardson are of pumping arms and legs in that high stepping chase back of his. Now Paddy has lost his legs and Lees, an exceptional prospect, will always need a quicker partner at the heart of the defence.

Watford are a far inferior side to us, yet in a 4X100m relay they – and most other teams in this league – would stuff us. Our relay team of the post Prem era: Gradel/Beckford/White/Sakho?

So here’s to Aidan White. He is quick, he is ours and he excites wherever he plays. Let’s get him signed up, and quick!!

Written by Bill Fox (Captaincrash)

  • TSS

    For me, the reason for this is quite simple, and you’ve actually touched on it yourself Crash without realising.

    Players with the skill, consistency and composure of Robert Snodgrass, and the pace of Aidan White rarely exist outside the Premier League – and when they do, the vultures are circling.

    Pacey players of such quality are a rare breed – they’re your international class of footballer almost entirely confined to the Prem in this country.

    We do see the occasional bit of pace from our opposition, but if they’re not being scouted by Prem clubs then they have glaring faults (probably consistency, or lack thereof). There is no team in this division that is built upon pace – sure, there are teams with pacey wingers, but they’re either inconsistent players, lacking the quality to make the step up (therefore not good enough), on loan from the Prem or being scouted by them.

    Max Gradel-esque players come along once in a blue moon outside the Prem – and they rarely stay very long.

  • DanSumpter

    Our Academy’s produced a good few speedy players down the years, maybe it’s time to give another one of ‘em the chance at LM/LW. Unless of course, we manage to buy a LB that actually turns out to be good and manage to play Aidy at LM/LW, If he stays that is, which i think he will.

  • Irving08

    Well……..yes.

  • Gryff

    I think you’re right, Crash. Thierry Henry was as good as he was because he could run the 100metres in about 10-11 seconds. And how can you defend well in an attacking team unless you can keep up with that pace?

    But like TSS says, if you’ve got the technique and the pace, you’ll be in the Prem pretty soon.

    My favourite memories weren’t of anyone like Frazer Richardson, though, it was of Danny Mills shooting down the pitch like a runaway train. He wasn’t necessarily that quick I reckon? But he actually tried running at opponents, and that’s part of what I reckon we lack.

    Snoddy is excellent and can use his technique to get around opposition, but Watford showed what can be done against Paddy by just running at the opposition.

    • TSS

      @Gryff Exactly, but I’d suggest the inconsistency of Watford’s pacey players is a factor in their poor league position (18th). If they were consistent and had the technique of Robert Snodgrass, they’d be world player of the year candidates.

      Pace is handy, but it doesn’t matter how you beat a player so long as you get the end result – and Leeds are doing that more often than Watford are. Pace is also handy in defence, but very few teams – and I’m including the EPL teams in this – have pacey centre backs. Positioning is more important, because if you get that right, you shouldn’t need to regain ground.

    • number1inyorkshire

      @Gryff danny mills was fantastic at leeds for getting down the wing was it peter reid AKA monkey boy who didn,t play him or venables .he was my fav too

  • Wayne

    Well it (his primary position in the team) depends purely on whether we’re going to be selfish with him, or do we try to develop him into the best player he could be. Wingers (or any attacking player for the matter) who merely rely on pace, never make it big. However, there’s countless quick wingers who didn’t (don’t) possess the smarts and trickery to be top attacking players, who’ve turned into extremely successful attacking full backs, eg. Ashley Cole, Gael Clichy, Marcelo, Christian Maggio, Dani Alves, Gianluca Zambrotta… take your pick.

  • EYLEEDS

    I reckon we were in the unique position last season of having a keeper that was the fastest player in the back 5!

  • number1inyorkshire

    lets get 1 thing straight aidy white has pace is he the fastest in the division not for me .beckford for 1 is faster i think prior to him leaving gradel would have been too .

    aidy white is a left mid maybe even a striker but in the long term not a left back .

    either way its a quick striker every team needs to frighten the less mobile defence we certainly do not have any one at leeds who fits that criteria .

    fastest player i ever saw at E R was Theo Walcott funnily enough Jermaine beckford was up there again .

    IF snodders had the pace of white would he be so skill full you often see a player who has pace to burn fly down the wing then its time to cross it etc and he panics ,Lennon was like that at leeds its only now he is becoming a better player as he has lost some pace although he is still quick ..

    there is nothing wrong with been a six yard box slouch some great players have been just that ,becchio would be the one at leeds at the min ,keogh has pace but just does not score but frightens the defenders to death .

    we could do with a pacey striker in this division it would be massive it got Swansea promoted last year ,pace .the other teams promoted had pace in their ranks too .

    pace sadly costs money back to uncle ken ,wonder if the manager has written a letter to santa