Ben Whiteman has arguably been the most consistent player at Doncaster Rovers this season – and it has not gone unnoticed.
Rovers boss Grant McCann has revealed he has received numerous calls from Championship clubs this season enquiring about the midfielder.
McCann has described Whiteman as ‘the best number four in League One’ referring to his status as a deeper lying midfielder.
While he is not surprised others are taking notice, McCann says the goal is to make sure if the former Sheffield United midfielder is playing in the second tier, he is doing so in a Rovers shirt.
“There’s been conversations,” he said. “I know for a fact there’s been one or two Championship clubs that have phoned myself and Cliff [Byrne, assistant] about him.
“It doesn’t surprise me that Championship clubs are looking at Ben.
“But as we said in January, no one is available.
“We just want to make sure he is with us and with us in the Championship.
“That is our aim.”
Whiteman has made his own the deeper lying position within the Rovers midfield three, delivering consistently good performances at both ends of the pitch, be it as a shield for the defence or a creative player in advanced positions as he pushes forward.
McCann is full of praise for the adaptability the 22-year-old has shown since the summer when he arrived as successor to Darren Ferguson, who brings his Peterborough United team to the Keepmoat on Saturday.
“Watching Ben last year here, he played in a different position,” McCann said. “In his first spell here when he was on loan he was scoring goals, he was further up the pitch and he was enjoying that.
“In terms of the way he plays, he plays off the back foot. He likes to see things in front of him, picking passes, breaking lines, getting forward.
“Just because he plays in that ‘four’ position doesn’t mean he just sits in front of the back four all day.
“Ben has got the license to move, to get into the position to be threatening.
“He’s someone who has understood and adapted very quickly.”
The Rovers boss thinks the way Whiteman has handled stumbling blocks in his career so far have helped to make him into a player that has become so important for his current side.
“He’s got a good mentality, a good grounding,” McCann said.
“From his family, then moving to Sheffield United as young lad.
“Then he was probably let go you might say from Sheffield United, probably deemed not good enough.
“That's something which maybe will come back to haunt them in the future because he’s a top player.
“These young boys, when they get a chance to get out and play they flourish.
“We've seen that here this season with Mallik Wilks and Herbie Kane as well.
“Hopefully they can continue to prove that when they get the opportunity they can adapt to this level.”
As he continues to improve, McCann believes Whiteman does not have to look far for guidance on how to perform in the role he is currently occupying.
“It’s a position I played in for most of my career,” side.
“I’ve had a few conversations with Ben just to keep him on point of what is expected of him.”
And with a wry grin he added: “If I was Ben I’d go and get some videos of me to he honest.
“Watch them and he might improve.”