Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Arteta hails ‘courageous’ Ben White for overcoming early wobble

Mikel Arteta says hard work on the training ground has been the key to Ben White’s impressive form with the centre-back confounding the critics who rounded on him after his dubious Arsenal debut at Brentford in August.

During the opening day 2-0 defeat at the Community Stadium, White was bullied in the air by Bees striker Ivan Toney leading many to question the £50 million price paid by the Gunners to Brighton in the summer.

Since the rocky start, the 24-year-old has become a fixture in Mikel Arteta’s defence – no player has started more games for the Gunners this season – and contributed to a noteworthy run of 11 clean sheets that have served as the bedrock for the club’s push up the table.

Ahead of the return fixture with Brentford, Arteta was asked to reflect on White’s development. He couldn’t have been more wholesome in his praise.

“It’s the way Ben reacted after that game,” said the Spaniard. “He has a big personality and he has courage; to play, to make decisions, to step in front. When he’s not feeling 100 per cent good, he still wants to train every day and he does it like the best. And the same when he wants to compete.

“In the long run, that takes you to a nice place, for sure. I think Ben is where he is today because of everything he’s done in the last few months. To achieve it is not a coincidence. It’s the work that he puts in every single day.”

Eyebrows were raised when White went public with the fact he watches very little football in his spare time, but Arteta has never questioned the player’s dedication to his craft. Quite the opposite in fact.

“He’s improved a lot in a lot of things,” said the boss. “In the end, how he’s being perceived is very important for the individual, what they think of me? And, if that’s relevant then you have to make yourself very aware of it and you have to transmit what you want to be.

“I’m telling you, you watch him train every day and you’ll be amazed. I think he’s playing a final every day in training sessions. That’s what we want from our players because when it comes to competing, that’s when you’re going to be ready.”

It remains to be seen whether White gets the chance to renew acquaintances with Toney. Brentford’s main attacking threat has been struggling with a calf issue and is a doubt for the match.

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I feel confident with Benjamin White at the heart of our defence. He’s formed a great partnership with Gabriel.


Ben White’s proved to be a good signing for us, even if somewhat overpriced. I look forward to stiff competition next year between him and Saliba.


If Ben White is overpriced, what’s the correct word to describe the fee the Manchester 2nd XI paid for Harry Maguire?

Determination Cultured

Maguire is worth every pound man u paid. In fact If he were any more expensive, I’m sure the rest of the 19 teams Would be glad to chip in. Hell I’d chip in with 2 burgers and a pack of fries myself.

Man Manny

That United were willing to pay that much for Maguire does not mean Ben White could not have been overpriced for us.
I am not saying he was, but we should not evaluate our business based on what United do.
United has a history for paying a King’s ransom for duds.
The jury is still out on the latest – Sancho, although I think he will come good with a good manager.

Maxin In The Shade

If he’s been a good signing, and been consistently good in his performances then how is that overpriced?


I understand, but my comment about him being overpriced is based on the fact that we paid almost 25 million pounds more for him than we did for Gabriel, who is IMO (granted marginally), the better defender, all things considered. It will take a couple more years to make a better assessment of value for money but I think we stand the chance to be very pleased with that dynamic with all three players, but somewhat less so with White due to the 50 million he cost us. We’ll see…

It’s hard to judge the value-for-money aspect of it yet. He has only been here for 6 months.


White’s been our best player this season along with Ramsdale. Absolutely awesome in both those 10-man performances recently, always looked calm and physically strong.


The whole back 5 are our best players in the season IMO. If we can fix central midfield and striker next season we’ll definitely go places.


I agree with the caveat of LB which has been underwhelming for the majority (although not a total liability either)

Brady’s bunch

I like Ben imagine a time when there’s a functioning midfield in front of him and Gab we’ll be a force to be reckoned with.


22,222 days since Sp/rs won the league today!

Please help their fans celebrate…

Franz Biberkopf

Ben White cost 50 million, and Harry Maguire cost 70. It’s clear that we got a bargain.

Thierry Bergkamp (Xhaka Out)

Rudiger was 27 million.
Dias was 61 million.
It’s not so clear afterall.


What was the English tax on those two players again?

Thierry Bergkamp (Xhaka Out)

Oh yes, the English tax makes a difference on the pitch, doesn’t it


If you want to be better and different from the rest why do you need to watch others?

Just play better against them

Franz Biberkopf

You could also think about things this way: how many centre halves in the Premier League are clearly better than Ben White? Three? 50 Mil well spent.

Hank Scorpio

Statistically Ben White does not feature in the top 20 of any defensive measures for this season according to the stats on the premier league website. In addition, the team is on track to ship the same number of goals as last season (actually slightly more). Stats aren’t everything and goals conceded aren’t down to central defenders. Even so, they still provide some indication of performance. White has been solid granted. I wouldn’t say that his purchase has resulted in significant defensive improvement though, keeping in mind Holding and Mari played a lot of games last season. It is only… Read more »

Mass Gooner

One thing for statistical analysis of multiple parameters.. if a player is above a certain percentile (say 85% for instance) on all measures without being 99%+ on any, there’s a very high chance (read probability), that he’s top 1% performers overall. Not everyone can do everything consistently well…

Not saying White is there but individual stats sometimes take things away from the player…


This thing about playing “finals” in training is balls

Der Kaiser

Centre backs are about partnerships
Gabriel and White are a true partnership. Look at the stats when they both play.

Helped by Ramsdale being a communicator

Just hope they maintain their professionalism

Der Kaiser

Concentrate on our own players also, rather than criticising others. Maguire was never worth the money paid for him but I’ll mount a defence for hI’m. He has done well for England. As I said centre backs are about partnerships and he has never had the right partner at Manure ( he would be OK with a Ben White or John Stones). I have also always believed that Luke Shaw is a very poor left back ( defensively / positionally). I actually feel slightly sorry for the committed Maguire as he is getting all the criticism whereas others are equally… Read more »

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