Mikel Arteta says Arsenal have a truly 'exceptional' 23-year-old in their ranks
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has waxed lyrical about Gunners summer signing Ben White.
In July, Arsenal signed the 23-year-old from Brighton for a reported £50million.
White penned a five-year contract at the Emirates Stadium, with the option of a sixth year.
However, the England international had a difficult debut, struggling to cope with Ivan Toney’s aerial prowess last week.
Arteta was quick to defend White, telling Sky Sports: “Yes, he can improve [in the air], but he won many aerial duels against him in the game as well,”
“You are highlighting the ones he didn’t win but Toney will win headers against any defender in this league because that’s a big quality of his.
“You have to accept that it’s an area of the pitch where if you concede those headers, it obviously becomes more dangerous for the team.
“But he had a good debut.”
Arsenal ace has “special qualities”
Arteta expects White to become a key figure for his side, adding: “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.”
White became a regular for the Seagulls last season, making 36 Premier League appearances last term.
This came after his incredible loan spell at Leeds United, helping them to the 2019-20 Championship title and Premier League promotion.
White has also won two caps for England and was part of Gareth Southgate’s squad at Euro 2020.
The Three Lions enjoyed a wonderful tournament as they made it all the way to the final, their first since 1966.