Mikel Arteta says Ben White is loving life as Arsenal’s right-back having taken on the role on a near full-time basis since the start of the season.
Signed from Brighton in the summer of 2021, the England international played 34 times as a centre-back in his debut campaign striking up a very decent partnership with Gabriel Magalhaes.
It was thought he’d compete with the Brazilian and the returning William Saliba for a similar role this time out but after covering for Takehiro Tomiyasu in pre-season, the boss has been happy to deploy him as a full-back with the responsibility to invert.
“I think he is very happy,” said Arteta ahead of the match with Chelsea.
“I think he is really enjoying it. He finds himself with a bit of freedom and you can see, when he has space, how he likes to attack. I think he is happy there.””
“He has this capacity,” added the boss when asked if he was surprised by White’s versatility.
“Physically he is a really special player. He is very intelligent and very gifted, and he has a lot of courage to play this game.
“If you tell him to play in midfield, he will. And he will give his best.”
Interestingly, he did play in midfield on four occasions for Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds as they earned promotion to the Premier League in 2019/20. In theory, he should be a shoo-in for England’s World Cup squad but Southgate can be a bit of a numpty and hasn’t included the player in his last couple of squads.
Alongside White, Gabriel and Saliba are also flourishing. The pair were quick to strike up a friendship in pre-season with Saliba able to speak French to the Brazilian who’d picked up the language during his time at Lille.
Touching on their partnership, Arteta said: “Really good, really natural. There is a connection, a personal connection first. You can feel it. There is chemistry.
“I think they make each other better with the qualities that they have, and I think they have been really really consistent in terms of their performance as well.
On how the duo communicate, he revealed: “It’s a mix. Between French, English, Brazilian. Sometimes I don’t get it but they understand each other so it’s fine. They get it.”
We got super special Benjamin! ❤
Saliba and White are both Rolls Royce defenders. We’re spoilt after spending so many years lamenting the performances of Mustafi, Sokratis, Kolasinac, Licthstiener and co
Oh fuck I forgot about Lichsteiner. Does that feel like a weird dream to anyone?
The season where we had Lichtsteiner, Bellerin, Maitland-Niles, and Jenkinson as right-backs.
God was punishing us for some reason.
Please don’t mention Mustafi on a match day:-) How depressing that used to be the standard at Arsenal.
Ben, Tierney, Zinny, Saliba, Tomi, Gabriel – we have a very strong defence, hopefully for many years to come!
Although I would personally be delighted if Benjamin stays home for the world cup I think Southgate would be mad not to include him. He has right backs falling like flies and White can cover two or even three positions. Oh, and there’s also the matter of him playing fantastic football !
There’s also the small matter of him being quite clearly superior to all of England’s other current centre backs, but let’s not let that get in the way of the Southgate master-plan
Can’t say that I particularly keep track of Southgate’s picks, but presumably Walker is first choice, then Tripper next in line, and then Walker-Peters?
Two of those are a doubt, so does seem like White could be included by default.
Same with Jesus who will probably make the Brazil squad now that Richarlison is a doubt.
So not content pocketing opposing forwards, our CB duo also invented a new language along the way?
What exactly can’t they do? Bearing in mind that Flamini is already handling climate change issues 🤔
God I love this team!
Let’s smash up the chavs and reclaim our position
White tried to speak French, but came up blanc.
Proper proper football player with a proper proper death stare ! Possibly the Arsenal player I admire most at the moment & I think his worth to the team is way more than the coins we paid for him. Going to be remembered as a legend the way he’s going
Brazilian? Is that a new language they made up!
Considering Mikel is something of a polygot himself, you’d think he knew the language was Portuguese
“I like Ben white” he’s having a great season.
If he was called Benny Blanco he’d be a superstar.
It is hard to believe just how good Ben White is as a right back. Not his natural position, but he is easily one of the best in the league. I also love the fact our backline has extra height as a result.