Mikel Arteta lauded Ben White’s ‘special’ qualities and claimed that the Arsenal defender is ‘quick’ and ‘agile’, as he told Sky Sports.
It wasn’t the best of starts for Arsenal on the opening week of the new Premier League season, as they fell to a 2-0 defeat to Brentford.
It perhaps just goes to show how difficult of a job White faces in North London because more difficult moments are probably to come for the ball-playing centre-back.
Despite a tough start to life in Arsenal colours, Arteta praised the club’s summer signing and how he has settled into his new home.
“Yes, he can improve [in the air], but he won many aerial duels against him (Ivan Toney) in the game as well,” said Arteta.
“But Ben made a big effort. Physically, he’s still not where he needs to be, but I think he has had a positive start.
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“Ben is an exceptional defender. He can play in a back four, he’s very comfortable playing in a back three, he’s got the league experience, he’s quick, he’s agile, he’s really aggressive in duels.
“And then, with the ball, he’s got special qualities that I needed for the way we play, to make all the processes better and for us to be composed and dominant in games like we want to be.”
The key thing for White is that he needs a consistent partner by his side, whether that’s in a back four or a back three.
Pablo Mari was the guy who played alongside him against Brentford, but will he be a regular this season? Probably not.
Gabriel, who is currently injured, is perhaps the one who would be the perfect partner for White, and vice-versa.
Either way, for White to settle in that much quicker, he needs familiar faces in front of him, at full-back and by his side at the heart of the club’s defence.
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