FIRED-UP Aidy White admits he is desperate to re-establish himself as a Leeds United regular in 2014-15 after two seasons blighted by frustration.
The Leeds lad has suffered fluctuating fortunes over the past two campaigns under first Neil Warnock and then Brian McDermott, not exactly helped by some bouts of injury and is eager to make the most of proving himself to a new face at the helm in Dave Hockaday.
White, who turns 23 in October, is mindful that he can no longer be bracketed in the category of young hopeful and that he needs to take the next definitive step in his career, namely fully establishing himself at first-team level.
Back in 2012-13, the new year arrival of Stephen Warnock represented a challenge to overcome for White and in the first half of last season, he found himself on the fringes under McDermott ahead of a brief rehabilitative loan stint at Sheffield United with Nigel Clough, who had been strongly linked with a move for him when he was manager at Derby County.
An ankle injury ended his spell at Bramall Lane early and once he got himself fit again in the final months of last season at Elland Road, Leeds-born White mainly had to settle for action from the bench in a difficult spell both for himself and his boyhood club.
But a new season yields genuine new hope for White, who has now entered the final 12 months of the three-year deal he signed in the summer of 2012 and is keen to make a statement – knowing full well about the importance of having a fine pre-season to give himself the best chance.
More especially with a left-back rival in Charlie Taylor eager to prove his own point back at Leeds and a senior man in Warnock still around, even if his future appears uncertain.
White, who made his Whites debut at the age of 16 back in August 2008, said: “I want to play here.
“I have been here for however long and really want to pin down a place this season.
“I have had a few years of being young if you like.
“Yes I am still quite young, but quite experienced for my age and it’s now time to put potential to one side and prove it.
“It’s been a strange few years. A couple of years ago, I was playing every week and thought I was flying and the last two seasons have been a bit stop-start, so I am looking forward to a new start under a new head coach and showing what I can really do.
“It’s time to show as an individual what you can do to the manager.
“Everyone will get a bit of game-time here and there in the friendlies and I am looking forward to the season starting and knuckling down and getting a spot week in week out and that’s my aim for the season. I am confident I can do that.
“I thought I did well last season. But in the end, I wasn’t playing and needed games and went out on loan and did quite well, but got injured and was out for a couple of months – and when I did come back into the team, it was more off the bench.”
White admits that in an ideal world that left-back is where he will feature in 2014-15, although he is equally astute enough to know that his versatility can also work for him – and is happy to fill in wherever to the benefit of the team.
He added: “I don’t know what formation the manager will play. I want to be playing, but feel left-back is my best position.
“But I can also play on the wing or in the hole and am quite comfortable playing where he wants me to.
“Hard work has been the order of the day in the early stages of the Hockaday regime, both at the end of last week at Thorp Arch and over in northern Italy amid the Alpine air of Santa Cristini in the mountainous Val Gardena region.
That will continue and White believes the hard yards will yield rewards when it really matters, when the first whistle is blown for the forthcoming campaign in August.
He said: “The manager wants everyone to do well and get the best out of the players and they have all responded to him well and all working their backsides off.
“It’s been tough, but as the season starts, I am sure we will get all the benefits out of it.”
“He wants to install hard work into everybody.”