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Ronnie O’Sullivan rates his UK Championship opponent Michael White: ‘He’s far too good to be off tour’


Ronnie O’Sullivan takes on Michael White on Wednesday at the UK Championship (Picture: Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan takes on amateur player Michael White at the UK Championship on Wednesday night, someone he considers ‘far too good’ to be off the professional circuit.

White is a two-time ranking event winner, claiming the Paul Hunter Classic and Indian Open titles, while he has also been in the world’s top 16 and reached the quarter-finals of the World Championship.

However, his form deserted him and he dropped off the professional tour in 2020, failing to regain his tour card in back-to-back trips to Q School.

The Rocket is surprised to see a man of White’s immense talent being classed as an amateur at 30 years old, and feels he probably has to work on the mental side of the game look for help in doing so, as O’Sullivan has with the likes of Dr Steve Peters.

‘He’s been on and off the tour, but should never be off the tour. He’s far too good,’ O’Sullivan told Eurosport. ‘He had a strong junior and amateur career and is a double ranking event winner.

Michael White is a former top 16 player but is not currently a professional (Picture: Getty Images)

‘You just never know why people fall off, but sometimes they’ve got their own problems.

‘Your game can deteriorate and go missing for spells, and maybe that’s what happened to Michael. But there is time for him to get back there competing with the top guys.

‘It’s a tough sport, you know. I call it snooker depression. Some people struggle with it and it’s important to get help. You have to work on your weaknesses. If one of them is the mental side of it, then you need to work on that side of things and work on yourself.’

White has been open about problems off the table in the past, speaking to Metro.co.uk earlier this year about giving up drinking after he felt alcohol was ruining his game and his life.

Speaking in May, White explained: ‘I’ve changed my whole lifestyle around basically, obviously from me going from top 16 to coming off the tour, there are reasons behind that.

‘I’ve stopped drinking completely. To be honest I had a bit of a problem with alcohol. It stemmed from a lot of things really, I put a snooker room in my house, which wasn’t a great idea. I wasn’t practicing for events, I was turning up, getting beat, going back and I was a bit depressed as well at the time. I was turning to drink.’

He is yet to regain his professional status, but White was then very confident of not just doing that, but returning to the top of the sport.

‘I strongly believe I can get back into the top 16,’ he said in May.

‘I feel like I’m stronger mentally after going through the things I’ve been through. I was quite young getting into the top 16 – 23, 24 – so I’m a lot more experienced now, not just snooker-wise but in the way I conduct myself. I know more things that work for me and against me, I’m more wised-up on that side.’


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