Ben White

Ben White

Benjamin William White

Current Club: Arsenal.

Previous Clubs: Brighton & Hove Albion, Southampton.

Loan Clubs: Newport County, Peterborough United, Leeds United.

International: England 4 caps.

Trophies Won: English Championship 2019/20. Community Shield 2024.

In many respects, White is very well suited to the role he is being asked to play in the current Arsenal side. He is quick, strong, decent in the air, comfortable on the ball, technically strong and can play across the backline or even just in front of it in a midfield role. That flexibility is key to the way Mikel Arteta wants to play, with White able to just fill in just about any position, whether as a starter there or just if he finds himself there in the course of a game.

Apart from his physicality, his main attribute is his ability on the ball, his technique is extremely good and he is very good on the ball. White does have some weaknesses, if playing as a centre-back, he is not really good enough in the air, which is why he is slotting in better as a full-back/auxiliary centre-back. He does not have the vision of a top rank player, he can play the cross-field passes, but he is not as likely as, for example, William Saliba alongside him to spot the runner.

White can tend to be over reliant on his pace, leading to him being a bit lazy in terms of reading the game, he is certainly not lazy in terms of actual effort, quite the opposite in that respect. But, in terms of his reading of the game, White can be caught out because he will take chances believing that he can use his pace to catch up if he needs to. That is another reason why he is better in the full-back position, in the centre he is can be caught in behind by a good run.

To be fair to White, he is usually right about his pace being able to bail him out of trouble, and his willingness to chase and work up and down makes up in large part for those weaknesses I have pointed out. That is why he is a very important part of an extremely strong defensive set up - make no bones about it, he is very good in this hybrid role he plays which requires him to shift between full-back, centre-back and midfield throughout the game. There are very few better at it in English football, though he does still have one more weakness that I have not mentioned.

The biggest flaw in White's make up is his rashness. To work well, Arteta's system, like that of his mentor Guardiola, requires highly disciplined players following set patterns of play and keeping their cool, even when needing to make a foul it should be done in a way that does not draw match officials' ire, as breaking up opposing counters with tactical fouls is a key part of the defensive plan. However White can lose his cool and fly into reckless needless challenges.

It is not always even clear why he does it. With most fiery characters, you can see them bubbling up and ready to explode, allowing their coaches and teammates a chance to have a word and try and calm them (even if that might not always work). With White, it just seems to often come out of nowhere. It is not even frustration that often causes it, as he can be playing really well and then suddenly lose the plot and launch himself into a wild challenge.

That does mean that it is not a flaw that can be easily targeted, opposing coaches are not able to just tell the winger facing him to wind him up, because that does not seem to be what makes him lose it. Though I would be very surprised if that is not part of the game plan of some opponents. It would be one of the things I would have expected a Sam Allardyce to do, to put someone on White and just test out his temperament. A little nudge here and there, a barge or two just after the ball has gone, those kind of things.

Requested by - sms & lmred & DagenhamGooner