Mikel Arteta hopes Gareth Southgate gives Ben White the nod for England’s upcoming matches following the centre-back’s good form for Arsenal.
The Three Lions are due to confirm their squad for friendly matches with Switzerland and Ivory Coast in the coming days and the 24-year-old has put himself in a prime position to be selected having helped the Gunners to 12 clean sheets in the Premier League in 24 appearances.
White made two appearances for England in the build-up to Euro 2020 and was a late addition to the squad that reached the final but he’s yet to feature in a competitive match and missed out on the last two squads.
Asked if his £50 million summer signing is now England’s best defender, Arteta said: “I don’t know, we are really happy with his performances, how he has adapted, what he brings to the team certainly.
“Hopefully he can get rewarded, because the way that he trains, he looks at himself and the performances that he’s having. He is certainly creating that attention, from a lot of people.”
Alongside the admiration for White, there’s been plenty of praise for goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.
After watching the Arsenal stopper produce a series of wondrous saves against Leicester this season, including one on Sunday to deny Harvey Barnes’ header, Foxes manager Brendan Rodgers said:
“For me he’s the best English keeper at the moment. I think he’s top. His progression since he came to Arsenal, he’s playing for a huge club, different expectation with how to play football, I think he’s dealt with that really well.”
Ahead of Wednesday’s clash with Liverpool, Arteta reacted to Rodgers’ words.
“Well, first thanks to Brendan for thinking that way and I think Aaron has to take those words to give him confidence and support in what he’s doing,” he said.
“I always said he’s been exceptional since the day we signed him, not only on the pitch, but what he transmitted, what he brought to the building, to the club, outside with his character and personality and that’s the kind of people that we want to bring to the club.”
Arteta also agreed that Ramsdale’s adaptation has been helped by Arsenal having a young English core on the books.
“Certainly, and you can see the understanding and the chemistry that he has with some of those. The fact that they knew each other for many years, that is always helpful and that speeds up the process of any adaptation when it’s always difficult at a new club.”