Ben White has revealed a noticeable improvement both on and off the pitch in what has been a challenging first year at Arsenal.
THE LOWDOWN: EARLY STRUGGLES
It has been a very different start to the new campaign for Ben White and his Arsenal teammates, compared to that of last season.
Though starring in a new right-back role, the defender has started all six of Arsenal’s league games in the current campaign, playing a key role as the Gunners lead the way at the top of the Premier League table.
White has been one of the top performers in the current campaign but it was not always the case after he endured a woeful start to life as an Arsenal player, following his £50m move from Brighton in the summer of 2021.
Arsenal did lose their first three games of the 2021/22 season, starting with a fixture against newly-promoted Brentford at the time and White was on the receiving end of much criticism.
Ahead of another fixture with Brentford, the Englishman reflects on how much things have changed within the past year and how he has ignored all criticism to improve on and off the pitch.
THE LATEST: SILENCING THE CRITICS
Reflecting on how much he’s grown over the past year, Ben said: “A lot as a person; I think more as a person than a player. When you come to such a big club like this, there’s a lot more to it than you’d think.
“As a player, I’ve become more confident and been showing the confidence put in me, and trying to perform to the level that the manager wants every week is something that I’m looking forward to.
“This season has been very different. There’s a lot more togetherness, and the way we train is completely different. What we do off the pitch, the attitude and the spirit that we’re all together is completely different.
“For me personally, it was a tough start when I first joined. I played in the Brentford game and didn’t have a good game. I was getting battered by every person in the media and it’s rubbish to hear that.
“I don’t have social media or anything like that, so I don’t actually see any of it but you get told about it and sent it. It’s one of those things; everyone has their opinion. Some you listen to it, and some of you don’t.”
Ben White also revealed it has been a pleasant experience working under Mikel Arteta.
He added: “Him bringing me here showed the belief that he had me,” he said. “I’m not really someone that needs to be told when I’ve done something rubbish, or told when I’ve done well – I kind of know. But it was it’s nice for the manager and the staff to always be around me last season when things weren’t so good.
“It’s exciting [working under Arteta]. I think you come into training not knowing what’s going to happen, which is nice. It breaks up your week. Coming in each day, you don’t know if you’re going to have a meeting or not, or what type of thing he is going to do in the meeting. Then when you get outside, you have no idea what’s coming.”
THE VERDICT: SOLID SIGNING
Arsenal fans can have no complaints about White’s performances since his arrival as the defender looks to be getting better with time. At 24, he is still very young for a defender and he definitely has his better years ahead of him.